The Battle of Nagashino (Nagashino Gassen), one of a pair with F1975.26

View right to left

Artist: Eisai Shuzen
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1615-1868
Ink and color on paper
H x W: 35.7 x 848.6 cm (14 1/16 x 334 1/8 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


battle, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, shogun
Provenance research underway.

A vivid pictorial account of the Battle of Nagashino (June 29, 1575) is detailed in a pair of handscrolls, one of which is shown here. In this decisive battle, the army of Takeda Katsuyori, one of three powerful leaders who were vying to control and unify Japan, was decisively defeated by the coalition led by the hegemon Oda Nobunaga and the future shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu. Takeda's troops had laid siege to Ieyasu's fort at Nagashino (now Horai Cho, Aichi Prefecture).

A decisive factor in the victory of Nobunaga's forces was his use of modern firearms (teppo), which had been introduced by the Portuguese after they first landed in Japan in 1542. Firing from behind entrenchments and palisades, his troops inflicted terrible damage on the traditionally armed equestrians led by Katsuyori. The artist makes full use of the long, uninterrupted handscroll format to present this story in a dynamic, cinematic style, opening with a quiet view of Nagashino Castle and closing with a distant view of the sun setting over peaceful rice paddies. In between, the fierce clashes between opposing armies are illustrated with the detail and drama that are distinctive features of Japanese narrative painting since the end of the twelfth century. No text is provided, but labels identify the major warriors and points of interest.

Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.

Related Objects