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Excerpt from Takezaki Suenaga's Scroll

Suenaga Fights Three Mongol Warriors, 1274


Excerpt from Takezaki Suenaga's Scroll

Samurai Takezaki Suenaga charges Mongol invaders as shell explodes overhead, 1274.

Scroll created between 1281-1301; public domain due to age.

This print was commissioned by the samurai Takezaki Suenaga, who fought against the Mongol-led Chinese invasions of Japan in 1274 and 1281. The founder of the Yuan Dynasty, Kublai Khan, was determined to force Japan to submit to him. However, his invasions did not go as planned...

This part of the Suenaga Scroll shows the samurai on his bleeding horse, firing arrows from his long-bow. He is clad in laquered armor and a helmet, in proper samurai fashion.

The Chinese or Mongol opponents use reflex bows, which are much more powerful than the samurai's bow. The warrior in the foreground wears quilted silk armor. At the top center of the picture, a gunpowder-filled shell explodes; this is one of the first known examples of shelling in warfare.

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