surimono format. left panel of diptych depicting a scene from the kabuki play "Gojo no Hashi", the role of the might warrior priest Musashi no Benkei is played by Ichikawa Danjuro VII while Yoshitsune is played by Iwai Kumesaburo II (1799-1836), the eldest son of Hanshiro. This scene is based on the story of their celebrated encounter at Gojo Bridge, where Benkei took on all challengers. After stripping hundreds of seasoned warriors of their swords, he encountered the small, youthful but skilled opponent, Yoshitsune, who had learned the martial arts from the tengu. Benkei was soundly defeated and after several more bouts with Yoshitsune, he became his faithful follower. Known as Musashi no Benkei, he fought nobly against the Heike and remained with his master until the final battle. Danjuro wears the carefully applied red theatrical kumadori for which he was known. This style of makeup originated in Chinese opera and was introduced by the Ichikawa family to convey masculine strength.
figures; warriors; costume; masks; emotion; weapons; decorative arts; red
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