N.1 ukiyo-e woodblock print
Period: 1804-18
Condition: fair
Size: 17,5 x 23 cm

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Important original woodblock print of the musha-e (武者絵) type depicting, as we read at the top left, the female warrior Tomoe Gozen (巴御前), portrayed on horseback and armed with a naginata (薙刀). The work is signed “Shuntei ga” (春亭画), that is by the artist Katsukawa Shuntei (勝川春亭) and most likely dates back to the Bunka era (文化).

In the 14th century epic account Heike Monogatari (平家物語) the famous warrior is described as follows: «Tomoe was especially beautiful, with white skin, long hair, and charming features. She was also a remarkably strong archer, and as a swordswoman, she was a warrior worth a thousand, ready to confront a demon or a god, mounted or on foot. She handled unbroken horses with superb skill; she rode unscathed down perilous descents. Whenever a battle was imminent, Yoshinaka sent her out as his first captain, equipped with strong armor, an oversized sword, and a mighty bow; and she performed more deeds of valor than any of his other warriors» (Helen Craig McCullough, Heike Monogatari, Stanford University Press, 1988, p. 291).

The rare print, despite the obvious signs of aging including holes as well as slight stains and wrinkles, is in overall fair condition.