Yumiharizuki 弓張月
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Lit. Crescent Moon; loaded or pulled bow (shaped) moon. A pictorial subject in *ukiyo-e 浮世絵 taken from the popular novel *yomihon 読本 CHINSETSU YUMIHARIZUKI 椿説弓張月 by Takizawa Bakin 滝沢馬琴 (1767-1848) and illustrated by Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾北斎 (1760-1849), published in 31 volumes, in five sets between 1807- 11. The story traces the life (highly romanticized) of the warrior Minamoto no Tametomo 源為朝 (1096-1156) through exile to Ooshima 大島. The fictionalized following sections describe Tametomo's escapes from the island, and eventual shipwreck with his son on the Ryuukyuu 琉球 (present Okinawa prefecture) where Tametomo suppresses a rebellion and becomes ruler of the kingdom by marrying its princess. When she dies, Tametomo ascends to heaven to join her while his son remains to rule the country. The last sections were influenced by the 17c Chinese novel Shuihuhouzhuan (Jp: SUIKOKOUDEN 水滸後伝) by Chen Shen 陳忱 (ca 1590 - ca 1670). The Crescent Moon was republished in several digest versions, including GENJIGUMO YUMIHARIZUKI 源氏雲弦月 (1851-53) by Ryuukatei Shuin 柳下亭種員 and illustrated by Utagawa Kuniyoshi 歌川国芳 (1797-1861) and Utagawa Hiroshige 歌川広重 (also known as Andou 安藤 Hiroshige, 1797-1858).
In addition heroic episodes are frequently represented in prints. In particular, Tametomo standing on the shore sinking enemy ships with his bow and arrow, and the shipwreck scene with Tametomo standing in a boat tossed by rough waves caused by a huge sea monster oowanizame 大わにざめ that appears with goblins *tengu 天狗 that fly above, are well known. Kuniyoshi designed a series "Ten Heroic Episodes of Tametomo" Tametomo Homare no Jikketsu 為朝誉十傑. A painting *nikuhitsuga 肉筆画 of the scene of Tametomo letting islanders pull his bow string by Hokusai dated 1811 with an inscription by Bakin is in the British Museum.


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