- 名古屋大学人文学研究論集 (ISSN:2433233X)
- vol.2, pp.371-390, 2019-03-31
The Okayama Prefectural Museum houses a portrait of UKITA Yoshiie, a 16th century Bizen warlord from the Sengoku Period. The painting, designated a National Important Cultural Property, bears an inscription that has been deciphered largely based on Edo Period transcriptions of the words. In this work, I have taken a closer look at the inscription based on a new high-definition infrared digital image of the colophon reproduced directly from the original painting. The content of the inscription, which was written in 1524 when Yoshiie was still in his prime, touches on two aspects of Yoshiie’s life: his family background and his battlefield exploits. Regarding Yoshiie’s background, a common assumption is that he is descended from the Baekje royal family. Yet from the inscription, Yoshiie himself contends that he rose out of the merchant class to become the knight class, and founded a new family linage. Turning to military exploits, the skirmishes and battles of UKITA Yoshiie and other regional warlords helped secure HOSOKAWA Takakuni’s support for the twelfth ASHIKAGA Shogun Yoshiharu in ways that are largely omitted from the documents and diaries of court nobles and monks living in the capital. Inscriptions on paintings, which are an integral part of the Zen GOZAN(five mountain) literary tradition of the 16th century, are not fictitious, but reflect the subjective reality of the calligraphers. Sixteenth century inscriptions can thus provide valuable insights into the political history of the Sengoku era.