This scene illustrates an episode from the chapter, “The End of the Life of Kiso Yoshinaka,” in The Tale of the Heike, a thirteenth-century recounting of the wars between two powerful clans, the Heike and the Genji (also called the Taira and the Minamoto). By the time this painting was made, important episodes from The Tale of the Heike such as this one were widely familiar and had become popular subjects for paintings.
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Battle scene from the epic Mahabharata (The Great Chronicle of the Bharata Dynasty), 1875–1900. Indonesia; Kamasan, Bali. Ink and colors on cotton. Gift of Dr. Stephen A. Sherwin and Merrill Randol Sherwin, 2004.96.