In 1830, Hokusai published one of his most dramatic series of prints illustrating eight famous waterfalls in Japan. Hokusai's strong sense of graphic design and limited color palette contributes to the impact of the compositions. In addition, he used intense Prussian blue to render the water. First synthesized in Berlin in 1706, Prussian blue was introduced into Japan in 1825. Unlike the soft blue colors Japanese artisans traditionally derived from indigo (ai) and dayflower (aigami), Prussian blue's intensity and resistance to fading when exposed to light made it immediately popular among print designers.
Kirifuri Waterfall, pictured here, is near Nikko_, a massive shrine dedicated to shogun Takugawa Ieyasu. Visitors to the mountain shrine enjoyed the sight of many waterfalls, but Kirifuri, on Mount Kurokami, was the most spectacular with water cascading 225 feet over two tiers of falls.