To open this special series of prints - the Hanga Treasure Chest - I have used a design dating from the 1820's, created by a relatively unknown print designer - Teisai Hokuba, one of the pupils of Katsushika Hokusai. Over the years I have made quite a number of prints using Fuji-san as a theme; it seems such a natural choice for a New Year card, or to start off a set like this. I'm sure this won't be the last time we visit this mountain!
There will be 24 prints in this set, far more than in any single group of prints I have produced to date, so we can expect to see quite a wide range of themes appearing during the year. Landscapes like this one will make up a major part of the set, and they will be accompanied by figure prints, nature designs, and without doubt a good sprinkling of 'other', because I certainly don't plan to roll down the main highway of print history, but will poke around in the unexplored byways.
Before we go any farther in the series, I must mention something about the display box which I have sent you for storing the prints. The box incorporates a display stand, but please remember that woodblock prints are not capable of being permanently out in bright light. For a reasonable length of time, under average room illumination, a print displayed this way will not be damaged, but if one were to be left on this stand for years at a time, or even worse, in direct sunshine near a window, then it will definitely become faded.
So please keep this in mind when deciding where to place your box; mine is going to go on my desk near my computer screen, where it will be clearly in view, yet not where the sunshine can reach it. I am looking forward to changing the print every two weeks, as each new one arrives fresh off the printing bench. It should be quite fun, I think!
Thank you for joining my project this year!