Asian Art Museum
- Introduction to Japan
- Female Shinto spirit
- Buddhism in Japan
- Ancient temples of Nara Japan
- Standing Brahma and standing Indra
- The Buddhist guardian deity: Fudo Myoo
- A guardian king
- The Way of Tea
- Tea bowl with dragon roundels
- Tea bowl with standing crane design (gohon tachizuru)
- Incense container with design of plovers
- Fresh water jar
- An introduction to the Samurai
- Dog chasing
- Archery practice
- Military camp jacket
- Tale of the Heike
- Haniwa in the form of a warrior
- A brief history of samurai armor
- Samurai armor
- Helmet with half-face mask
- Military leader's fan
- Arrival of a Portuguese ship
- Short sword (wakizashi) and long sword (katana)
- Matchlock gun and pistol
- From castle to palace: samurai architecture
- The Floating World of Edo Japan
- Fire procession costume
- The evolution of ukiyo-e and woodblock prints
- Street scene in the pleasure quarter of Edo Japan
- Courtesans of the South Station
- Courtesan playing with a cat
- Hunting for fireflies
- An introduction to Kabuki theater
- The actor Ichikawa Danzo IV in a Shibaraku role
- Genji Ukifune
- Scenes from The Tale of Genji
- An American ship
- How Japan Inspired Monet, Van Gogh, and Other Western Artists
- The steamship Powhatan
What is happening in this picture?
Under a cherry tree in full bloom, a mounted archer takes aim at a round paper target held by a running servant. One of several forms of archery practice formalized as early as the Kamakura period (1185–1333), this activity trained warriors to shoot accurately at moving targets while riding at a full gallop. The red fence beneath the cherry tree suggests that the event takes place on the grounds of a Shinto shrine, the usual setting for yabusame, a form of religious exercise or sport performed in a shrine precinct by mounted warriors.
Why is the mounted figure not dressed as a warrior?
Instead of armor, the archer wears the soft silk tunic, or hunting robe, over a red silk underobe and loose-fitting pants. On his head he wears a tall, lacquered cap. These elements identify him as a member of the imperial guard, lower-ranking noblemen of the Heian period (794–1185) whose largely ceremonial function was to protect the emperor and his family. A precursor to medieval samurai, the imperial guard’s training in archery and other military skills provided a basis for later practices developed under the leadership of the first shogun Minamoto Yoritomo (1147–1199) and others in the early Kamakura period (1185–1333).
What is the writing at the right side of the picture?
Written at the far right is a four-line verse in the style of classical court poetry, or waka, which celebrates the skill of the mounted archer. By including a poem in this way, the artist points to the balance of bu and bun—the military and cultural arts—that was expected of every Japanese warrior.
Want to join the conversation?
- Where did they get new supplies(Horses, tools, weapons)?(2 votes)
- As they had not yet traded with anyone at that time but china i'd say it was probably from japan itself but it may have been from china.(3 votes)