The Dragon of Smoke Escaping From Mount Fuji, 1849 by Hokusai
Until a few years ago, this work was believed to have been destroyed by fire during World War II air raid. The subject, a dragon surrounded by black cloud ascending into the heavens above the mighty Mt. Fuji, is an "auspicious" one, symbolizing success in life. the work is basically an ink painting, and the contrast between the geometrical form of the mountain and the sinuous curves of the black clouds and dragon represents a type of composition characteristic of Hokusai. The signature adds the information that it was completed on the eleventh (or possibly the twenty-third) of the first month of 1849, which would make the work one of Hokusai's very last.