Above is a self-portrait painted by Miyamoto Musashi (c. 1584 –1645), one of the most interesting figures to have lived in Japan. It is unknown when exactly the man shown above began to dabble in ink and paint, but he is known to have been creating works of art by the 1630s. As hinted by the swords he painted himself holding in the portrait, Miyamoto Musashi was a warrior. In fact, he was a great duelist, and he claimed to have won around 60 or more duels during his lifetime, many of which ended in the deaths of his opponents. He wrote about his career as a duelist, and his war philosophy in general, in Go Rin No Sho, or Book of the Five Rings, which he wrote shortly before his death in 1645. Read our article about his life, HERE, or check out a smaller piece specifically about Miyamoto Musashi’s artworks, HERE.
Written by C. Keith Hansley
- The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi, translated by Lord Majesty Productions, 2005.