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You’re looking at an animated GIF of a dance instruction manual from 1815, drawn by eminent Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai (often known for his painting The Great Wave). The creators of these wood-block illustrated books known as ehon in Edo-period Japan (1615–1868) developed designs that still inspire and inform today’s popular manga artists.

Original illustration and others on view in  “Hand-Held: Gerhard Pulverer’s Japanese Illustrated Books,” at our Arthur M. Sackler Gallery April 6–Aug. 11   

Official record:

Odori hitori geiko (dance instruction manual)
Katsushika Hokusai (1760—1849)
Japan, Edo period, 1815
Woodblock printed; ink on paper
H x W x D: 18.5 x 12.5 x 0.9 cm 
Purchase - The Gerhard Pulverer Collection, Museum funds, Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries and the Harold P. Stern Memorial fund in appreciation of Jeffrey P. Cunard and his exemplary service to the Galleries as chair of the Board of Trustees (2003—2007)
Freer Gallery of Art Study Collection FSC-GR-780.222