Two remarkable and rare scrolls, "printed" using small woodcut stamps on fine shiny paper. The scrolls depict a military commander and his troops taking up position before a battle as practiced by the Takeda family, one of the most important military families in Japanese history. The soldiers and horses have been stamped onto the scroll and then hand-colored; uma-jirushi (battle-standards) and banners are painted in with white brushes. Hatamoto ("under the banners") were samurai in direct service of the Tokugawa shogunate. They commanded sonae (regiments). About fifteen different and highly detailed stamps are employed in the scrolls. The hand-coloring gives them enormous variety; each squad of soldiers are "dressed" in different colored garb based on their function and rank. The hand-drawn battle standards and banners are colored in a wide variety of tones and shapes denoting different units. The colors include red, yellow, black, brown, green, dark and sky blue, white, pale red, etc
The first scroll begins with infantry, including one soldier beating on a drum carried by another soldier. There are several on horses carrying banners. Their uniforms and body armor are vividly portrayed. Ashigaru (foot soldiers) are carrying bows and arrows as well as muskets. Several different kinds of bugyo (swordsmen) are shown. Heishi (lower level samurai) surround the horsemen carrying banners. We also see shibusha (messengers or runners), sakuba (back-up horses), hokogashira (another kind of foot soldier), mushabugyo (formations of soldiers), hatabugyo (formations of soldiers carrying banners), and metsukebusha (higher rank samurai)
The second scroll depicts mochiyaribugyo (spear carriers), gusoku (soldiers carrying additional footwear), taisho (generals), ishi (military doctors) protected by soldiers, shibusha again, kinshushi (letter writers), yonin (high ranking generals led by drummers), shinshugashira (commanders of untested soldiers), yakunin (government observers), kunizuke busha (departmental observers), konida bugyo (troops escorting supplies carried by horses), ninpu (low level workers)
Each scroll containing stamped and hand-colored depictions of soldiers in formation. At the end of the second scroll: "Created in 1703 according to Takeda family traditions." At the end of the second scroll, it is written that there are a total of 1392 soldiers depicted on the two scrolls as well as 123 horses (87 horses for riding and 36 for transport of goods). The beginning of the scrolls contain gold and silver speckled "endpapers."
"Hatamoto sonae oshi no kaku ; Genroku 16-nen sei kappan hissai; 2-kan" --written on the box cover