This 6-fold screen is a depiction of the Battle of Genji and Heike. In samurai armor, the Heike forces approach by ship from the left, while Genji forces rush to the shore on horseback and on foot—drawing the viewer’s attention to the center of the screens, where their confrontation will finally take place. The Heike forces can be identified by the red banners on their ships, while the Genji clan carries white banners.
The most renowned battle in Japan took place in the twelfth century over control of the Heian (794-1185) capitol of Kyoto. This legendary tale was spread by itinerant monks who sang of the drama while playing the biwa, a stringed instrument much like a lute, as they travelled Japan. The details of the struggles for power between the Heike (also known as Taira) and Genji (also known as Minamoto) clans were recorded in what came to be known as the Heike Monogatari (Tale of Heike) over the following centuries. Along with the Tale of Genji, the Heike Monogatari is one of the most famous stories in all of Japan.
The representation of a cannon as an instrument of war and power is not uncommon on Akan goldweights, which were used and produced by the Akan-speaking peoples of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire since the 15th century. As a symbol, the canon (called "apremoo"), is thought to represent resistance against foreign domination, as well as superior military strategy. It refers to the superior arms yielded by Europeans and the military successes Akan nations such as the Asante and Akwamu were nevertheless able to achieve against them, defeating European armies on several occasions.
Goldweight in the shape of a bundle of three cannons.
Akan goldweights can be categorized into two broad groups, namely geometric or abstract weights on the one hand, and figurative weights on the other. This weight, representing a bundle of cannons, falls in the latter group. Military motifs, such as cannons, swords, war-horns, warriors, and shields, are in fact very common in the "Early Period" of representative weights, starting from the 17th century onwards. These military motifs seem to have had the definite purpose of indicating the power and strength of the state, and they may have been made largely for chiefs' courts. Cannons, in particular, were often modeled in weights and used to represent the superior military strategy with which Akan nations in what are now Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire defeated European armies that had superior arms.
Inscription, in pen, along top and bottom edged: Copy of a Print by Gilray the original of which I gave to/ Wm. Hone to produce on his trial & of which afterwards I made/ an etching of this size George Cruikshank
Durga sits with her legs in a half lotus position, crossed in front of her, but not interlaced. She has a narrow waist and rounded pointy breasts with broad shoulders. Her front two hands hold a rosary (also in a reassuring gesture) and a pot. Her other hands fan out around her. Reading clockwise, she carries a wide assortment of weapons, an arrow, sword, feather, club, discus, trident and [?] on her right and conch, bell, noose, trident, club?, shield, bow and a kapala (skull cup). She has large open eyes and a full mouth and nose. She wears jewelry including necklaces and shoulder loops, armlets, bracelets and large floral earrings. Her crown rest atop her head, but there are wing-like elements that fan out behind her ears. She sits on a squared base with stylized lotus petals over simpler moldings.
Durga is a common name for the Goddess. She has a large following in Hinduism and often the title Durga is an umbrella name covering a wide assortment of goddesses. The fact that she has so many arms suggests this collective identity. It relates to stories told in the Devimahatmya, part of a larger work, which tells how the gods could not beat particular demons and it is only when the goddess was created and imbued with the individual powers of all of the gods that the demons could be vanquished. Consequently she holds weapons associated with a number of the gods.
Multi-colored ink on paper. Prominent reds, yellows and blues. Six figures, three smaller (clothed), three larger (nude or semi-nude). Scene of worship.
In the Jain religion, book production reflects the integral relationship among the laity, monastic community, and the Jina, or enlightened Jain teacher. The dedication of sacred books for shrines is required of devotees, while commissioning a book fulfills the lay obligation of charity, and beholding a book helps the individual achieve the proper mental state for spiritual guidance. It was customary for a lay donor to commission a copy of a text for presentation to his spiritual teacher and ultimately to the temple library. Over the centuries, monastic libraries received great quantities of texts, which were employed in the instruction of monks and nuns, themselves discouraged from practicing the art of painting: one text expressly warns of the power of painting to arouse sensual feelings.
In these colorful pages, the golden-hued Jinas and the monks who venerate them are nude, identifying them as belonging to the Digambara (sky-clad) sect of Jainism. A central concern of many medieval hymns and rituals is curing disease with many of the verses promising relief from sickness. The verse that originally accompanied the page on the right was about dropsy, more commonly known as edema. The patient is reclining, belly visibly swollen. The verse tells us, “Those who have been utterly wrecked by their burdensome, swollen abdomens, who are plagued by the terrible disease of dropsy and have given up all hope, become as handsome as the god of Love himself, their bodies anointed with a life-saving nectar, the dust from your lotus feet.” Reciting this verse in prayer to the Jina brings relief from this unendurable disease.
The page on the left praises the divine drum that resounds on the Enlightenment of the Jina, proclaiming the greatness of his teaching. We see in the upper register the Jina seated in meditation with the naked monk Manatuga at his side. In the lower register two gods beat kettle drums, while a third god dances and beats a tambourine.