Kuniomi Utagawa, Battle of Yashima, War Scene


Artist: Kuniomi Utagawa (dates unknown)
Title: The Great Genpei Battle of Yashima
Publisher: Kishida Choujirou
Date: 1893
Size: (R) 25 x 36.8 (C) 23.7 x 36.7 (L) 24.8 x 36.8 cm

Original Japanese woodblock print. 


This print recounts The Battle of Yashima, a legendary conflict from the Japanese war epic the Tale of Heike. The story depicts the various battles and tragedies that ensued between the overthrow of the Taira by the Minamoto clan, symbolised respectively by their red and white banners.


Pushed further and further into a corner by the Minamoto, the Taira retreat to the shore of Yashima, now Takamatsu in the island of Shikoku. The Minamoto deceived the Taira into believing they would assault on the land by using decoy bonfires, causing them to flee via ship and abandon their makeshift fortress. The print portrays a famous episode in the battle. In order to retain his honour, Minamoto no Yoshitsune leaps past enemy boats to retrieve his bow that had fallen in battle. In the centre is Noritsune no Taira, a warrior who came close to stopping Yoshitsune. Accepting his defeat, Noritsune resolves to commits suicide by diving into the sea with two Minamoto soldiers under each of his arms.

More Information
Print FormatTriptych
SubjectSamurai & Male
Size(R) 25 x 36.8 (C) 23.7 x 36.7 (L) 24.8 x 36.8 cm
Condition ReportTear in the top left corner, some stains on the centre panel. Tear on the right side of the left print. Residue from previous backing.