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Soldiers and Warriors

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Yoshu Chikanobu (aka Chikanobu), Japanese, (1838–1912)
The Warning Shot, 1898
Ink on Paper
8 1/16 in. x 13 in. (20.48 cm x 33.02 cm)

Object Type: print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Creation Place: Asia, Japan
Credit Line: Purchased with funds from the Aoki Endowment for Japanese Arts and Cultures
Accession Number: 2001.2.98

Text block, signature and red seal in the upper left. Text printed along the length of the left edge. Text printed in the center of the lower edge, in pink ink.

Colored ink woodblock print (oban yoko-e) on off-white paper.

Object Description
Although the Heike forces had fled to boats off the shore of Yashima, one vessel turned back to the beach. At its prow stood a young woman, dressed in beautiful court garments, who took a folding fan decorated with the rising sun emblem and attached it to a pole on the gunwale; her gesture was obviously a challenge to the Genji warriors.

Yoshitsune ordered Nasu no Yoichi, a small man, but a renowned archer, to knock down the bobbing target. Yoichi rode his horse into the surf and took aim. He prayed to Hachiman, the God of War, and to all the gods of his home province of Shimotsuke. For a brief moment the brisk north wind stilled, and his arrow flew straight. As it struck the fan, the spring winds again picked up, carrying the fan high above the boat before dropping it ominously in the waters. Although warriors from both sides applauded Yoichi, the Heike hitting the gunwales of their boats while the Minamoto struck their quivers, this act of extraordinary skill seemed to foretell the Heike's imminent downfall.

Hiroshi Kitagawa and Bruce T. Tsuchida, The Tale of the Heike, Book 11, Chapter 4 "Nasu no Yoichi" (University of Tokyo Press 1975) pp. 658-660.

For more information, please refer to the Chikanobu exhibition catalogue.


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