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Samurai Warriors Attacking a Village in Japan

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Samurai Warriors Attacking Japanese Villagers, c. 1750-1850

Edo-period samurai warriors attacking a village in Japan, created between 1750-1850.

Library of Congress / No known restrictions

Two samurai strike down villagers in an otherwise idyllic winter scene. The two local defenders appear to be from the samurai class as well; the man falling into the stream in the foreground and the man in the black robe at rear are both holding katana or samurai swords. For centuries, only samurai could own such weapons, upon pain of death.

The stone structure on the right side of the picture appears to be a toro or ceremonial lamp. Initially, these lanterns were placed only at Buddhist temples, where the light constituted an offering to the Buddha. Later, however, they began to grace both private homes and Shinto shrines as well.

See the entire 10-part series of prints depicting this samurai attack on a village.

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