Watanabe Nobukazu, Snow, Moon, Flowers, Lady Tokiwa Gozen Fleeing Kyoto with her Three Sons

Watanabe Nobukazu, 1874-1944

Snow, Moon, Flowers: Lady Tokiwa Gozen Fleeing Kyoto with her Three Sons
(Genpei Setsu Gekka: Tokiwa Gozen)

signed Motome ni ojite (by request) Yosai Nobukazu hitsu with artist's seal, Yosai Nobukazu, publisher's seal of Yokoyama Ryohachi with address Tokyo Shitaya Sukiyamachi juni-banch, dated Meiji nijuninen (Meiji 22 [1889])

oban tate-e triptych 28 3/8 by 14 3/8 in., 72 by 36.5 cm

Tokiwa Gozen (1138-c.1180) was the brave and beautiful wife (or concubine) of Minamoto no Yoshitomo (1123-1160), the head of the Minamoto clan in the late Heian period who opposed and defeated his own father during the Hogen Rebellion in 1156, but was ultimately betrayed and murdered by his own retainer during the Heiji Rebellion only four years later. Lady Tokiwa had three sons by Yoshitomo, the youngest of which was the legendary samurai warrior Minamoto no Yoshitsune (1159-1189). In this composition, Lady Tokiwa holds the baby Yoshitsune tightly to her chest protecting him from the cold as she and her two other sons flee Kyoto during the Heiji Rebellion. She is later captured but assures the safety of her sons by serving as a concubine to Taira no Kiyomori (118-1181).

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