Battle of Odai Castle

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892

Picture of the Battle of Odai Castle in Shinano Province
(Shinshu odaijo kassen no zu)

signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu, with publisher's seal Tamaso (Tamaya Sosuke), and combined censor and date seal Tatsu-go, aratame (year of the dragon [1868], 5th lunar month, examined)

oban tate-e triptych 14 1/4 by 28 1/4 in., 36.2 by 71.8 cm

This battle was fought in the Sengoku Period for Odai Castle, captured in silhouette in the top left corner. It was fought between the forces of Odai Yorisada, here depicted as the central figure grasping at his injured eyes, and those of Takeda Shingen (1521-1573), an expansionary daimyo remembered for brilliant strategy. In this chaotic battle scene, Yorisada's men seem to hurl themselves up against a wall formed by Shingen's men compressed into an impenetrable barrier. Choking smoke billows around the soldiers as some are thrust backwards from incoming rounds and tumble over those already knocked down. Yorisada's vassal, Iwatsu Tetsuuemon Shigenobu, is seen falling to his knees directly behind Yorisada as he raises his bloody sword above his head, his torso and arms nearly indistinguishable from that of an opposing warrior who he seems to have beheaded; two severed heads roll gruesomely in the foreground.

Highlights of Japanese Printmaking: Part Five - Yoshitoshi, Scholten Japanese Art, New York, 2017, cat. no. 33

Roger Keyes, Courage and Silence, 1983, p. 380, no. 218
Stephen Turnbull, Warriors of Medieval Japan, 2011, p. 46 (re: Odai Castle)



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