A bronze figure of Emperor Jimmu

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A bronze figure of Japans first Emperor Jimmu
Japan, Meiji period (1868-1912)
Cast standing on a large rock, carrying a sword on his belt and arrows on his back, in his left hand he holds his bow with the golden eagle perched on top, signed to the back.

H. 70 cm

Provenance: Dutch private collection

Catalogue note:
Emperor Jimmu (神武天皇 Jimmu-Tenno), whose name means “Divine Might” is the legendary founder of Japan’s Imperial House and a direct descendent of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu. His rule is said to have been between 660 and 585 BC. Today, Emperor Akihito can claim, through an unbroken line of succession, direct descent from Jimmu. Jimmu himself is shrouded in legend and many modern scholars doubt whether he ever actually existed. The story of Emperor Jimmu has been passed to us from the Kojiki (古事記 Record of Ancient Matters).

It wasn’t until he reached the age of 45 that he became aware of his call to destiny where he assumed the mantle of stewardship, it is then stated in the Nihongi he uttered to his followers: ‘From the date when our heavenly ancestor descended until now it is over 1,792,470 years. But the remote regions do not yet enjoy the blessings of Imperial rule. Every town has always been allowed to have his lord and every village its chief, each one for himself, makes division and territory and practises mutual aggression and conflict.

And so Jimmu began to move Eastwards from Kyushu with his followers in an attempt to bring Japan under his control, heading along the shores of the Inland Sea subduing the Yamato region. During this period there were a few incident one of which being when he and his men came to an impassable terrain. Amaterasu came to Jimmu in a dream saying she would send the Yatagarasu (Sun Crow) to lead him through the impasse. Soon the crow appeared and showed his army and him the way. Another time found him in a battle with no decisive victory. It became dark and hail began to fall. Then a golden hawk appeared, standing on the tip of Jimmu’s bow. And from this lightning fell, sending his enemies into confusion, gaining Jimmu’s forces victory.

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