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The Battles of the Hōgen and Heiji Eras
Edo period (1615–1868)
Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold on paper
Image (each screen): 60 15/16 x 140 in. (154.8 x 355.6 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1957
Not on view
The bloody uprisings in Kyoto in 1156 and 1159, during the Hōgen and Heiji eras, signaled the beginning of the great age of warrior rule. The tales of the heroic and the infamous from these two battles were soon set down in narrative handscrolls. By the late sixteenth century, the handscroll format had been adapted to the grand scale of the folding screen. These panoramic examples, by an artist of the Tosa school, are the earliest known representations of the wars. Each screen illustrates between fifty and eighty episodes, mostly in Kyoto, with Mount Fuji and the rolling hills east of the capital figuring prominently. The scenes are ordered by importance and location rather than chronology. The most important episodes take place in large buildings at the center. The small labels identify significant people and places.
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