Utagawa Yoshikazu (active 1850-1870) The Battle of Dan-no-Ura of 1185, 1850's. Oban triptych.
A scene featuring the great Yoshitsune, hero of so many ukiyo-e prints. Here he is engaged in battle between his own Minamoto clan and their enemy the Taira clan. The sea battle between the Emperor's forces and the Minamoto was furious. Fighting between six o'clock and eleven o'clock in the morning, Yoshitsune's forces were outnumbered and less skilled at sea warfare. Nevertheless, taking advantage of tides, they began to push back the Taira clan, until the nine year old Emperor and his grandmother, foretelling defeat, jumped to their deaths saying, "in the depths of the ocean we have a capital." Then began the most tragic mass suicide in the history of the samurai.
This is a fine and elegant triptych. Yoshitsune is shown in mid flight in the centre panel, executing his legendary 'eight boat leap' to escape the clutches of the samurai Noritsune. The flag ship and red pennants of the Taira fleet are seen behind him. The waves are rendered in strong graphic style, recalling the designs of Kuniyoshi.
The print is trimmed but otherwise in excellent condition, strong vibrant colour, a very strong impression and very few flaws. Attached to Japanese backing paper.
72 x 35 cm.