Toshihide (1863 - 1925)
Benkei in a Boat
Series; Eighteen Honorable Men and Deeds

An illustration of the Noh play titled “Funa-Benkei” (Benkei in a Boat), a drama about Yoshitsune and his loyal retainer, warrior monk Benkei. After Yoshitsune and the Minamoto forces defeated the Taira at the naval battle of Dan-no-ura, the Taira commander Tomomori committed suicide by tying himself to an anchor and leaping into the sea. While Benkei and Yoshitsune are later sailing through Daimotsu Bay, a huge storm arises, caused by the vengeful ghosts of the Taira. Here, the spirit of Taira no Tomomori rises from his watery grave, gripping a naginata and dancing about, his long hair flowing over his shoulders and back. His skin is pale blue, a sign of his otherworldliness, and he wears a white patterned tunic over full hakama pants with a design of splashing waves. In the boat, Benkei clasps a string of prayer beads between his hands, praying for the safety of his companions. His entreaties are heard, and the fearful Taira ghosts disappear beneath the sea.

Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)
Minamoto no Yoriyoshi Striking a Rock with His Bow
Series; Mirror of Famous Generals of Japan

Mirror of Famous Generals of Japan - Yoshitoshi designed this fantastic series of fifty-one prints of military heroes from 1876 to 1882. These dramatic images of famous warriors created a sensation with the Japanese public. Full of violence and intense emotions, Yoshitoshi’s bold and innovative compositions tackled a historic subject using a modern style. His realism and drafting skill captured the important legacy of these national heroes at a time when Japan was struggling with the aftermath of the Satsuma Rebellion. Classic Yoshitoshi images, these dynamic prints are a great choice for collectors.

Minamoto no Yoriyoshi Striking a Rock with His Bow - An illustration of Minamoto no Yoriyoshi striking a rock with his bow, bringing forth a stream of fresh water, which became the Kitagamigawa River. According to legend, his troops were suffering during a severe drought in 1054, and the water saved the lives of his army. Dressed in full armor with a quiver of arrows at his back, Yoriyoshi prods the base of a rocky cliff as a small spring of water spurts up. The men behind him fall back in surprise, but the warrior continues his efforts. Wonderful detail in the carefully drawn armor and weapons.

Toyonobu (1859 - 1886)
The Genpei War: The Great Battle at Uji Bridge

A triptych illustrating the Greta Battle at Uji Bridge during the 12th century Genpei War between the Taira and Minamoto forces. After the Taira pursued Prince Mochihito to Mii-dera temple outside Kyoto, the Minamoto army led him south across the Uji River. To prevent the Taira from following them, they tore up the planks of the bridge just outside the Byodoin temple. The Taira forded the river, and Minamoto no Yorimasa and his men, along with monks from the temple, fought bravely but were defeated, with Yorimasa committing suicide, the first recorded instance of seppuku or ritual suicide. The elderly Yorimasa directs operations from a folding stool at right, waving his battle fan at the samurai on horseback beside him. In the background, warriors battle atop the understructure of the bridge, wielding naginata and swords.