Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) known simply as Hokusai, was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period. Born in Edo (now Tokyo), Hokusai is best known as author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku Sanjūroku-kei, c.831) which includes the internationally iconic print, Under the Wave off Kanagawa (also known as The Great Wave).
Cuckoo and Azaleas is a woodblock print depicting a garden of orange azaleas and a lesser cuckoo in flight. It is typical of Hokusai's woodblock and paper works featuring natural scenes, and is noted for its use of the colour orange, as well as Prussian blue for the sky background, and is part of Hokusai’s Small Flowers series.
This work is noted for its Japanese inscription covering the left side of the print. The quotation comes from a poem by the Southern Song dynasty poet, Yang Wanli. Translated into English, the inscription reads: "A single cuckoo by day splits the mountain bamboo / with an initial cry upon first hearing about Du Yu." This refers to the death of Chinese general Du Yu. The call of a cuckoo was said to be heard upon his death, according to legend.
the above text appears on the back of the card HC-1058: card size 7" x 5" (178mm x 127mm)