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A Battle between the Minamoto and Taira Clans, a 6-fold screen painting on paper

Panel 1-2

  • Panels 1-3

    Panels 1-3

  • Panels 4-6

    Panels 4-6

  • Panel 5-6

    Panel 5-6

 

Height: 1234.000 mm
Width: 3670.000 mm

Gift of Arthur Morrison

Asia JA JP ADD49 (1927.10-13.09)

    A Battle between the Minamoto and Taira Clans, a 6-fold screen painting on paper

    Japan
    Edo period, Kambun era (AD 1661-73)

    This screen depicts several crucial episodes in the war that was fought between the Minamoto (or Genji) clan and the Taira (or Heike) clan in the late twelfth century. To the right a land-battle rages, while to the left there is a sea-battle. The crests of bamboo grass on the shields in the far right panel indicate the Minamoto clan.

    The first and second panels from the right show the Battle of Ichinotani. In the middle, where boats are pulled up to the shore, is the Battle of Yashima, which took place in spring of the year 1185. The final defeat of the Taira came one month later, at the Battle of Dannoura, shown on the final two panels. There is a great sense of energy and violence in the exaggerated thrust of weapons, the gushing blood (fourth panel), and the warrior Benkei shown carrying seven types of weapon on his back (top left of third panel).

    In the early Edo period (seventeenth century) there was a very popular form of jōruri (ballad drama) called Kimpira, which featured violently energetic puppet performances. This painting to some extent resembles the illustrations in the books which accompanied this drama, and the painting's bombastic style would have been appreciated by a similar audience.

    I. Hirayama and T. Kobayashi (eds.), Hizō Nihon bijutsu taikan, vol. 1 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1992)

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