Minamoto no Yoshitsune Encounters the Ghost of Taira no Tomomori

Maker(s)
Artist: Utagawa Yoshikazu 歌川芳員 (active ca. 1850-1870)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1848-51
Medium
Woodblock print; ink, color and hand-applied color on paper
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 36.2 x 74 cm (14 1/4 x 29 1/8 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S2004.3.202a-c
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Print
Type

Woodblock print

Keywords
Anne van Biema collection, chuban, Edo period (1615 - 1868), ghost, Japan, ocean, ukiyo-e, wave, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Label

The Battle of Dannoura in 1185 was the final confrontation between the forces of the Taira and Minamoto families. Led by the young warrior Minamoto no Yoshitsune, the naval battle ended in a decisive victory for the Minamoto. The opposing leader, Taira no Tomomori (1151-1185) committed suicide and his several thousand men were drowned, along with the child emperor Antoku. Later dramatizations and narratives, beginning with The Tale of the Heike (Heike monogatari) became widely familiar, and the historical story was embellished by legends like the one illustrated here. In this triptych, the Taira ghosts rise in the foreground among turbulent waves. Tomomori raises his sword as he awaits the approach of Yoshitsune's ship. The eerie scene is rendered in somber tones of blue and black. The influence of Kuniyoshi, the preeminent designer of warrior prints, can be seen in the dynamic renderings of the waves and in the fierce expressions of the warriors.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 92, pp. 240-241.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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