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Benkei On The Gojo Bridge Tsuba


A very artful Kyoto tsuba with a slight hint of Hikonebori, bold figures done is copper shakudo and silver, and extensive gold nunome.  7.15 cm x 6.87 cm x4.6 mm.   Excellent condition.  This group of Kyoto artists, which featured these large detailed images, were related to the Soten.

Musashibo Bekei, 1155 - 1189, was a warrior monk noted for his great strength.  The tsuba depicts the story of Benkei and Yoshitsune on the Gojo bridge.  Benkei had posted himself on the bridge, and disarmed every swordsman who passed.  After collecting 999 swords, he was defeated in a duel with Minamoto Yoshitsune, after which he became Yoshitsune's retainer.  Yoshitsune is credited with with many successes in the Gempei war against the Taira, especially in the final battle of Dan no Ura.  However, being too successful, had its downside, and Yoshitsune's brother, Yoritomo, fearing his popularity and successes threatened him, turned against Yoshitsune.  This ended two years later at Koromogawa no Tate castle, where Yoshitsune committed seppuku while Benki blocked the advancing forces from crossing the bridge to the castle.                            $1,850        

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