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Minamoto no Yoritomo in court dress
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Тhis is a copy of a hanging scroll painting, one of a set of three, said to depict Minamoto no Yoritomo (1147-99), the first Shogun of Japan. Following his victory in the civil wars against the Taira clan in 1185, Yoritomo founded the Kamakura Shogunate, a new system of warrior rule. This ended a period of some 600 years of centralized rule from the imperial court at Kyoto.

Yoritomo is shown wearing formal court costume and cap, and carrying a ceremonial board. The decorated hilt of a long sword juts forward from his waist. The inscription above in coloured cartouches celebrates his military prowess and political authority.

A recent theory suggests the three original scrolls may instead depict the Ashikaga dynasty (1336-1573). The inscription on this copy identifies the sitter as Yoritomo, but recent analysis suggests it may have been made as late as the Edo period (1600-1868). The original identity of the sitter is still hotly debated.

Minamoto no Yoritomo in court dress


From japan, Kamakura period, 14th century AD, or later
Ht 145 cm
Purchased with the assistance of G. Eumorphopolous and the Art Fund



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