DEPICTING THE IDEAL WARRIOR IN THE TALE OF THE HEIKE: A PAIR OF SCREENS AT AGSA – TAASA Review June 2020
Russell Kelty S amurai, a display which was scheduled to open in May at the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA), aims to present a diversity of art which evokes the history, material culture and ideals of the warrior elite in Japan.
A feature of the display is a pair of six panel screens, created in the 18th century, which depict the iconic scenes and characters described in chapter nine of The Tale of the Heike.
The screens, created during the peaceful Edo period (1615-1868), are not simply dramatic illustrations of historical events: their subject was purposefully chosen to convey social, political and ideological messages to promote the values of the warrior elite and legitimise the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate (Gunji 2017: 1-24). The Tale of the Heike is the great war epic of Japanese literature which pervades art, literature, drama and pop culture...