Friday, 29 June 2007


This is the first and most famous print of Katsushika Hokusai's 36 Views of Mount Fuji. I was browsing this interesting website when I stumbled into this section about Perception in different cultures.

John Lockerbie, the author of the site, was arguing how people from different cultures would perceive things, a western who reads left-to-right would see things differently from an Arab who reads right-to-left... Siting Hokusai's Great wave as an example, the top picture (the original) would appear to an Arab or any person who is a right-to-left reader as threatening because it is coming to meet him. However a western or any left-to-right reader might not feel the same threatening effect... the bottom picture (mirrored) will be more intimidating to them.

"Incidentally, this reading of pictures also operates subconsciously with moving pictures. In the West, people moving into a film frame from the left are understood to be moving forward or progressing the action, while those moving from the right can be seen to be going back, countering the action or in conflict with it."

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