Series: Edo Era (1603 – 1868)
Category: Women Samurai
Accession Number: DFJN2020PRWS0014
Title (Original): 侍と女戦士
Title: Samurai to on'na senshi
Translated Title: Samurai and the Woman Warrior Tomoe Gozen
Artist (Original): 北斎勝鹿
Artist: attributed to Katsushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849)
Medium: Japanese woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink on paper
Publication Date: c.1830
Acquisition Date: 29 / 10 / 2020
Country of origin: Japan
Size: 7 1/8 inches x 10 inches (18.2 x 25.4 cm) Book plate
Condition: Excellent detail. Soiling at edges.
Tomoe Gozen is perhaps the most famous Japanese female samurai. The account of her fighting at the battle of Awazu in 1184 in the Heike monogatari begins:
Tomoe had long black hair and a fair complexion, and her face was very lovely; moreover she was a fearless rider, whosm neither the fiercest horse nor the roughest ground could dismay, and so dexterously did she handle sword and bow that she was a match for a thousand warriors, and fit to meet either god or devil. Many times she had taken the field, armed at all oints, and won matchless renown in encounters with the bravest captains, and so in this last fight, when all the others had been slain or fled, among the last seven there rode Tomoe.
'The print came from an old Tokyo gallery, popular with foreign clients during the 1950s and closed down after the owner passed away almost 50 years ago.'