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Japanese Takeda Samurai doll from Kabuki Theater

Japanese Takeda Samurai doll from Kabuki Theater

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Dolls: Pre 1800: Item # 606950
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Japanese Takeda Samurai doll from late Edo to early Meiji, 1800s. Takeda dolls were made to model Kabuki actors and puppet dolls from the late Edo period (1603-1868). The doll is possibly Benkei, a faithful retainer to Yoshitsune (Minamoto).

Many stories were written based on Benkei and Yoshitsune (Minamoto, Genji family). They first met on the bridge of Gojyo in Kyoto when Benkei challenged Yoshitsune. He had been challenging strangers to sword fights so that he could get their swords as a prize when he won. After loosing the challenge for the first time to Yoshitsune, he became a faithful retainer to Yoshitsune.

Kanjincho, the Kabuki adaptation of the Noh play, Ataka, was first performed at the end of the Edo period in 1840. Danjuro VII played Benkei.

After the successful battles against the Heike, Yoshitsune (Minamoto family) and Benkei, tried to escape from Yoritomo (Minamoto no, first Kamakura Shogun) who became increasingly jealous of his half brother, Yoshitsune.

There are many phrases which include Benki today. ‘Benkei no Tachi Ohjo’ simply states that Benkei died standing up. He defended Yoshitsune to their last battle by blocking the enemy’s arrows with his body to give Yoshitsune time to commit Seppuku (honorable way for samurai to die) instead of being captured. Benkei, known to be a big strong man, died standing up, his eyes wide open with many arrows stuck to his body.

It is 11 inches tall on the stand 4 7/8" x 8 1/4" x 1/4". The length of the spear (old spear, later addition) is 15 1/4" long.