One of a rare set of three miniature 'Nobori Bata' banners (see 2539a 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 imagery on this banner represents the old man Takenouchi-no-Sukune holding the baby Ojin. Takenouchi-no-Sukune, sometimes affectionately referred to as "Valiant Old Bear," is a legendary figure, and is said to have drunk daily from a sacred well, and this helped him to live to be over 300 years old. He was for a time a guardian of the future-emperor Ojin (the baby in this image), in the third century. Edo pieces tend to have Takenouchi-no-Sukune dressed in full armor underlining his military role, while Meiji ones often show him in court costumes and wearing a nobleman's cap, always the faithful advisor and loyal subject.