Artist: Yoshifusa Utagawa (active c.1837-1860)
Title: Lord Asahina Yoshihide Leading his Army
Dimensions: (L) 25 x 36.7 (C) 25.7 x 37.1 (R) 25.5 x 37.2 cm
Tales of Lord Asahia Yoshihide often slide between history and legend, but both refer to his physical and military strength. Yoshifusa, too, does this by placing him on a tiger pelt saddle, towering above his men on horseback. Asahina’s scabbard and armour of alternating lacquer black and yellow signify his ferocity and proximity to the image of the tiger. His alleged mother, Tomoe Gozen, a female warrior ‘worth a thousand men’, solidifies his reputation as a born and bred warrior. Appropriately closing off the right hand of the triptych is a pine tree, which was often employed by the Tokugawa government and ruling warrior class to refer to themselves as a symbol of longevity and stability.