Yorke Antique Textiles

A collection of antique and vintage textiles from around the world

Item Details
Late Edo (1775-1850)
One of a rare set of three miniature 'Nobori Bata' banners (see 2539b and c for the others, priced separately). The silk is a crepe 'chirimen' that is spun so tightly that the product exhibits an uncharacteristic rough texture. The motifs were created using the sumi-e drawing technique. Very good condition. 8" x 29". The three tiny banners that make up item 2539 a, b and c were part of a May 5 Boys Day 'warrior' display carefully arranged in the 'tokonoma' or alcove within some Japanese homes. This display centered around several warrior dolls, or Musha Ningyô ' ; these elaborate displays that during Edo and Meiji times typically included a set of miniature 'nobori bata' (banners such as item 2539), fans, carp streamers, feathery whisks, warrior dolls in rows, seated figures, men on horseback, hawks tethered to their perches, standing figures with swords at their hips, protected by armor: a miniature army to be led into combat. Essentially these indoor displays feature great figures and heroic episodes from Japan's martial past in order to inspire in the boys heart honorable ethics and values, passing on heritage and pride in the past, while at the same time were thought to ward off evil spirits. The image on this banner likely represents Yoshitsune, a great young general of the late-12th-century wars of the Genji and Heike (Minamoto and Taira) clans. He is considered one of the greatest and the most popular warriors of his era, and one of the most famous samurai fighters in the history of Japan. Many legends arose around Yoshitsune's life: that he was raised by a bird-demon, the Tengu king, who trained him in agility; the fidelity of his wife; his adventures with his companion the warrior monk Benkei.
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