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Ekphrasis of “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” by Katsushika Hokusai

The towering wave comes crashing down, A force of nature, fierce and proud. Its foams and spray a veil of white as if the sea has come to fight. Boats below are tossed and turned, their crews with fear and terror burned. They struggle on a treacherous path against the might of nature’s wrath. Mount Fuji, in the distance, stands, A stoic witness to the lands. Its snow-capped peak is a tranquil sight, A contrast to the raging fight. The Great Wave off Kanagawa, A masterpiece of Hokusai. Its power and beauty evermore, A tribute to the ocean’s roar.

In my ekphrasis, I attempted to capture the mood and feeling of Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” by using descriptive language that evokes the power and beauty of the wave. I also tried replicating the original visual details, such as the boats tossed by the tide and Mount Fuji in the distance. The choice of language was deliberate, with words like “force of nature,” “fierce and proud,” and “raging fight,” emphasizing the strength and power of the wave. At the same time, I contrasted the wave’s fury with the peacefulness of Mount Fuji in the background, capturing the balance between chaos and calm in the original work. My ekphrasis preserves the original by capturing its essential details while adding a layer of interpretation through descriptive language. The new understanding or interpretation that my ekphrasis brings to the original piece is a sense of the raw power and beauty of the ocean and the delicate balance between chaos and tranquility in nature.


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