Original Hand Colored Print of Shizuka Gozen, Female Samurai of Legend in 12th Century Japan
Utagawa, Koniyashi. Edo Period hand colored woodblock print by Koniyashi of Shizuka Gozen, one of the most famous women in Japanese history and literature. 14” x 9.5”. Gozen is depicted in fine clothing with floral embroidery, vibrant colors, a large yellow hat, while she is also wielding a sheathed katana. Gozen was the mistress of Minamoto no Yoshitsune, commander in the Genpai War and the Shogun’s half brother turned rival . Gozen was caught in the middle of the feud of the two men and was captured by Shogun’s forces while seeking protection from one of Yoshitsune’s allies. Yoshitstune was also soon betrayed by the son of one of his advisors, and the fate of Shizuka Gozen and her child with Yoshitsune are unknown, though many legends have sought to explain the mystery. Some stories claim that she returned to Kyoto and became a Buddhist nun, while others claim she drowned herself in a river. Gozen is celebrated throughout the country in various festivals; many towns across Japan claim to be the location for her religious exile, her death, or other significant events of her life. Lower margins stained and rubbed, some paper loss at upper left corner near caption, 1 inch wormhole at upper right corner. This print is in good condition overall.