Momoyama-Edo Paintings

The 840th Anniversary of Taira no Kiyomori’s Death: The Tale of the Heike and the Genpei Wars
January 2, 2022 - February 13, 2022

A masterpiece of Japanese literature, the war epic The Tale of the Heike unfolds against the backdrop of the twelfth-century Genpei Wars between the Taira (Heike) and Minamoto (Genji) clans and recounts the glorious rise and tragic fall of the Heike. The narrative first took shape in the thirteenth century, passed down through the ballad-like songs of blind biwa players, dramatic kōwakamai dance performances, and Noh plays. Large folding-screen paintings based on this tale were produced from the Muromachi period (1392–1573). Eventually, the figures portrayed in Heike-themed paintings would come to reflect the ideals of the governing warrior class of early modern Japanese society.

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A Message to Museum Visitors

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