Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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Yoshitsune and Benkei at Gojō Bridge

  • Description

    Beneath a full moon, the agile young Minamoto no Yoshitsune, trained in martial arts by the tengu demons, leaps over the warrior-monk Benkei’s halberd on the Gojō Bridge in Kyoto. Benkei, who is collecting by force 1000 swords from innocent passers-by, has met his match. He has managed to remove Yoshitsune’s white silk overgarment used as a disguise, but cannot defeat the youth. Benkei was so impressed with the young warrior, that he swore allegiance to Yoshitsune and they remained inseparable until death. This scene is also depicted on the netsuke EA2001.51.

  • Details

    Associated place
    AsiaJapanHonshūKantōTōkyō prefecture Tōkyō (place of creation)
    AsiaJapanHonshūKantōTōkyō prefecture Tōkyō (place of publication)
    AsiaJapanHonshūKyōto prefectureKyoto Gojō bridge (subject)
    published 1881
    Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892) (designer)
    Associated people
    Morimoto Junzaburō (1861 - 1923) (publisher)
    Benkei (1155 - 1189) (subject)
    Minamoto no Yoshitsune (1159 - 1189) (subject)
    Material and technique
    nishiki-e (multi-block) woodblock print, with bokashi (tonal gradation)
    mount 55.5 x 84.5 cm (height x width)
    print 35 x 70.3 cm sight size (height x width)
    Material index
    Technique index
    Object type index
    No. of items
    Credit line
    Presented by Christ Church College, University of Oxford, 1983.
    Accession no.
  • Further reading

    Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 23 April-22 September 2013, Manjū: Netsuke from the Collection of the Ashmolean Museum, Joyce Seaman, ed. (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2013), illus. p. 236 fig. 62

Glossary (3)

netsuke, nishiki-e, tengu

  • netsuke

    The netsuke is a form of toggle that was used to secure personal items suspended on cords from the kimono sash. These items included purses, medicine cases or tobacco paraphernalia.

  • nishiki-e

    Nishiki-e literally means 'brocade pictures' and refers to multi-coloured woodblock prints.

  • tengu

    Tengu are powerful mountain goblins. Two types appear in Japanese art, one with a long nose, and the other with a beak and claws. One identifying feature of both is a feathered fan.


    • currently in research collection

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