Japanese conchs...

19th century elephant ivory netsuke
Benkei Blowing a Conch Horn by Anonymous

Benkei is considered to be one of the great warriors
of Japan and is known to have been the sidekick of the
greatest warrior, Yoshitsune. In this design there is the
form of a large conch shell horn which is blown to signal
the beginning of a charge on the battle field


'Benkei Blowing a Conch Shell', ca. 1842-43
by Kuniyoshi (1797 - 1861)


Netsuke by Gyokusho, ca. 1900s
Three Samurai mythical attendants to the patron
warrior and mythic hero Benkei carry an oversized
conch tightly bound by ropes that also secures a
sharpened sword, that sits gently over the
lips of the shell

A print by Yoshitoshi showing Hideyoshi blowing
the conch trumpet to let his troops know that it is
time to begin the attack at Shizugatake


Hangyoku with a Conch Shell 1910

A Japanese Horagai, conch shell horn,
probably Edo period
Purchase here


Amy June Bates said...

THe story of Benkei and Yoshitsune is one of my favorites. My husband has told it many times as we have hiked the mountains where they used to live. This is a link to Benkei's geta, made of wrought iron- a symbol of his great legendary strength. Thanks always for the great pictures.

Amy June Bates said...

here is the link:

Aputsiaq said...

Hi Amy! I didn't know the story of Benkei and Yoshitsune till yesterday...and your husband hastold it to you many times...I just love that! Storytelling should be a part of our lives every day....I love to listen to stories! And thanks for the link...he had strength indeed!

☆sapphire said...

Thank you very much for this interesting post. I carelessly missed this post. The Conch Horn in the first photo is amazingly beautiful. I suppose it is a very good piece. Minamoto no Yoshitsune is a tragic hero. Minamoto means the Genji whose shrine is the Tsurugaoka-Hachiman in Kamakura where the 1000-year-old Ginkgo once stood. The prints you've chosen are all very nice. Can you believe some monks often use these conch horns still today? Netsuke are very interesting tiny pieces. Tokyo National Museum has a really lovely collection.