• Arts of the Samurai  auction at Christies

    Sale 2378

    Arts of the Samurai

    23 October 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 11

    Nagasawa Rosetsu (1754-1799)

    Portrait of Minamoto no Yoshiie (1041-1108; Hachiman Taro Yoshiie)

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Nagasawa Rosetsu (1754-1799)
    Portrait of Minamoto no Yoshiie (1041-1108; Hachiman Taro Yoshiie)
    Signed Rosetsu sha and sealed Gyo
    Hanging scroll; ink, color and gold on silk
    40½ x 16in. (103 x 40.7cm.)


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    Rosetsu based this portrait on a painting of Yoshiie by Maruyama Okyo. Yoshiie fought victoriously in the northern provinces in the Earlier Nine Years War (1051-62) and again in the Later Three Years War (1083-87) and was appointed governor of Mutsu. He embodies the spirit of the samurai and was a legend in his own time, elevated to almost godlike status in the old chronicles.

    Here he wears a typical Heian-period suit of armor. It is essentially a square box of iron platelets that are laced together. The armor, intended for warriors mounted on horseback, was very heavy and unwieldy (especially when wet) and was replaced by a more efficient version by the end of the Kamakura period. Also typical of the Heian period is the blue leather covering the chest to ensure that that the bowstring does not snag on the platelets. Only the archer's left arm needs the protection of chain on silk, with additional lacquered iron sheets. Yoshiie wears bearskin shoes.

    The painting was intended for display during the Boy's Day Festival in May. For a suit of armor see lot 72.

    Literature

    Nara Prefectural Museum of Art, ed., Tensai to kisai no shitei: Okyo to Rosetsu/Okyo and Rosetsu (Nara: Nara Prefectural Museum of Art, 2006), pl. R-11.


    Exhibited

    Nara Prefectural Museum of Art, "Tensai to kisai no shitei: Okyo to Rosetsu/Okyo and Rosetsu," 2006.10.7--12.3