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On the third month of 1185 the Taira met the Minamoto at Dannoura. Seeing that they have no hope to win, the Imperial Grandmother took the child Emperor, Antoku, the sacred jewel and sword of the Imperial Regalia and leaped into the sea, followed by numerous Taira warriors who sank under the waves. The notion that the spirits of the fallen Taira clan came to the underwater palace of the Dragon King was well known already in the thirteenth century, and appears in several texts. However, visual representations of the Taira at the Dragon King palace appear much later. In this talk I will explore the core iconography of these images and question their meaning in their historical context.

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