Artist: Toyonobu Utagawa (1859-1896)
Title: Magara Naotaka and Honda Heihachiro at the Battle of Anegawa
Series: The New Biography of Toyotomi Hideyoshi
Publisher: Matsuki Heikichi
Dimensions: (L) 23.7 x 35.7 (R) 23.8 x 35.7 cm
Toyonobu Utagawa (1859-1896) was one of the last heirs of the Utagawa School tradition. The grandson of renowned artist Kunisada I, Toyonobu was considered one of the most promising young stars of the Utagawa school but died prematurely in 1886. One of his major series is the Shinsen Taikõki, a history in prints of the ascensions of the warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi from peasant to ruler of all Japan, along with various tales of his vassals.
The scene shows a duel between Makara Naotaka (1536-1570) and Honda Heihachiro (1548-1610) at the Battle of Anegawa (1570). Naotaka served the Asakura clan and was present on the front lines of the conflict. Heihachiro fought for Tokugawa Ieyasu and became known as one of his finest generals, with Anegawa the ground where he proved his skill. He thrusts his spear, sternly keeping his ground despite Naotaka’s charge on horseback. Naotaka dynamically curves his body in order to avoid the blow, preparing his blade for a counterattack.