Gojo bridge in the Chronicles of Yoshitsune

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892

Gojo bridge in the Chronicles of Yoshitsune
(Gikeiki Gojobashi no zu)

signed Taiso Yoshitoshi ga, with artist's seal Yoshitoshi, and publisher's date and address seal Meiji jushinen, -gatsu, -ka; Asakusa Kawaramachi 2-[banchi], shuppanjin Morimoto Junzaburo (Meiji 14 [1881]) of Morimoto Junzaburo of Entaido

oban tate-e triptych 14 5/8 by 29 1/8 in., 37 by 74.1 cm

The confrontation between Minamoto Yoshitsune (1159-1189) and the warrior priest Musashibo Benkei (d. 1189) on the Gojo Bridge is one of the most famous moments in Japanese folklore. Yoshitsune, the future leader of the Minamoto clan in their victorious war against the Taira family, is at the time of this episode an itinerant youth attempting to sneak past the threatening Benkei. The warrior priest has collected 999 of the 1000 sword tips he needs to create an invincible weapon, and hopes that Yoshitsune can provide him with the final piece. However, he proves to be no match for the nimble Yoshitsune who had trained with the tengu, and pledges himself as the young warrior's loyal retainer. They would fight together through many battles and trials, many of which are retold in The Tale of the Heike (Heike monogatari), and ultimately die together following their betrayal at the hands of Yoshitsune's brother, Yoritomo.

References:
Keyes 1983, p. 447, no. 440
Akita Museum of Modern Art 1999, p. 16, no. 33
Newland & Uhlenbeck 2011, p. 111, cat. 80
Ota Memorial Museum of Art 2012, p. 101, no. 153
Iwakiri 2014, pp. 86-87, no. 122

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