Illustrated Scroll of the Warrior Watanabe no Tsuna

Details

Illustrated Scroll of the Warrior Watanabe no Tsuna

Paintings / Muromachi

Muromachi period, 16th century

Color on paper

24.2x996.8

1巻

This scroll depicts the follow-up to a famous tale of how the Heian-period military general Minamoto no Yorimitsu slew the ogre chieftain Shuten Doji. The hero in this scroll is Watanabe no Tsuna, Yorimitsu's retainer and member of a group of brave warriors known as the Four Guardian Kings.
It seems that one of the ogres in Shuten Doji's gang has escaped and is at the capital's Rashomon gate. Tsuna receives a celebrated sword from Yorimitsu and goes to slay the ogre. He manages to slice the ogre's right arm off and is returning home with it when suddenly, in a crack of thunder, the arm is reclaimed by the ogre. Thus ends the first half of the story.
In the second half, Yorimitsu has fallen gravely ill. He has been cursed by an ushi-oni, or bull demon. Tsuna is given the celebrated sword once again and sets off to slay it. He cuts off the demon's arm and returns home, but the demon comes to retrieve it in the guise of Tsuna's mother. The famed sword used to slay him was later passed on to the Minamoto clan.
The artist and the history behind this work are unknown, but it was probably made by a samurai descended from the Minamoto clan.

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