Utagawa Kunisada

Magical scene from the Genpei war, 1823

About the object

The print shows a key scene of a Kabuki play, loosely based on the Tale of the Heike (Heike monogatari). The three protagonists are based on historical figures of this epic account of the Genpei War (1180-1185), which retells the struggle of the Taira and Minamoto families for supremacy over Japan. Tomoe Gozen, the woman on the left in the print, heroically fought and beheaded opposing samurai until her husband (in the middle) ordered her to save her own life and flee.

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