Japanese Two Panel Screen: The Race at Uji Bridge
Japanese Two Panel Screen: The Race at Uji Bridge
Japanese Two Panel Screen: The Race at Uji Bridge

This screen depicts two Heike generals, Sasaki Takatsuna and Kajiwara Kagesue, on their horses, crossing the Uji River which signaled the beginning of the first Battle at Uji Bridge. The Heike were pursuing Prince Mochihito and Minamoto Yorimasa, who were at the Byodou Temple on the opposite side of the river. Takatsuna was gifted the most coveted horse in the region, Ikezuki, or The Mortal Eater. This horse was said to be two hands taller than the average horse, was chestnut colored, and had a wild disposition and would bite at anyone who came too close- hence the name. Takatsuna was given this horse for the express purpose of fording the Uji River, which was particularly high and fast because it was winter. Kagesue was gifted Surusumi, or Charcoal, a horse most likely the same in quality, but with less a reputation. It is believed that Kagesue was jealous of Takatsuna because he believed he should have been given the prize horse. Upon reaching the Uji River, the Heike realized that the monks had destroyed the bridge in order to prevent crossing the river. Both Takatsuna and Kagesue raced to be the first to cross the river. While the on-looking troops assumed they raced in comradery, the legend is that they were in competition with each other to prove who was a braver and more skilled warrior. Mineral pigments on mulberry paper with silk brocade border.

Second half of 19th century
48 1/4" h x 63" w x 3/4" d
122.555 cm h x 160.02 cm w x 1.905 cm d
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