Parody of the tale of Nasu no Yoichi

Artist: Kawamata Tsuneyuki 川又常行 (1676?-1741?)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1615-1868
Ink, color and gold on paper
H x W (image): 84.7 x 37.1 cm (33 3/8 x 14 5/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

archery, bow, Edo period (1615 - 1868), fan, horse, Japan, kakemono, pine tree, shamisen, ukiyo-e

Marquis Okubo Collection [1]

To 1905
H.M. Mayeda, to 1905 [2]

From 1905 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from H.M. Mayeda, New York, in 1905 [3]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [4]


[1] According to Curatorial Remark 3 in the object record, a note from the Original Kakemono List states: "From the collection of Marquis Okubo."

[2] See Original Kakemono List, L. 521, pg. 144, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Hidemitsu Mayeda (C.L. Freer source)
Marquis Okubo
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


In Heike monogatari, a long narrative account of the war between the Taira and Minamoto families in the late twelfth century, the warrior Nasu no Yoichi (flourished late 12th century), who fought on the side of the Minamoto, shot a single arrow into a fan held in place by Lady Tamamushi. His perfect shot from horseback began the Battle of Yashima in 1185. Here the tale is enacted in a modern setting from the time of the painting's creation. A well-dressed man aims an arrow at a fan held aloft by a young female shamisen musician. Two courtesans wearing lavish kimonos sit languidly beside their tobacco set on the veranda of an elite brothel. The artist uses mitate--a literary and artistic device in which unexpected parallels are drawn between dissimilar elements--in this painting that evokes a famous battle scene in the unlikely setting of the contemporary "floating world."

Published References
  • Harold P. Stern. Ukiyo-e Painting: Freer Gallery of Art Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition. Exh. cat. Washington and Baltimore, 1973. cat. 48, pp.122-123.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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