Night Attack on Sanjo Palace vs. Bayeux Tapestry
The Night Attack on the Sanjo Palace is a Japanese handscroll from the
Kamakura Period. At this time, the power of emperors are weakened due to two powerful
clans fighting for supremacy. The scroll depicts a great battle occurring between these
two warring military clans, the Minamoto and the Taira, along with the kidnapping of the
retired emperor, the burning of the palace itself, and the massacre of the palace’s
The Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidery and was sewn with wool onto linen. It
depicts the events that led to William the Conqueror and the Norman’s conquest of
England culminating in the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
One obvious similarity between the Night Attack and the Bayeux Tapestry is the
fact that both are possibly biased in the recorder’s favor. Note that the Bayeux Tapestry
was made from a group of women who didn’t partake in the battle, but were given oral
accounts of it, which may have been altered because it was from the victor’s perspective.
Similarly, the Night Attack on the Sanjo Palace shows evidence of bias as well.
According to other records, this rebel military takeover was actually unsuccessful,
meaning they didn’t win this particular battle. But they did win the overall war, so they
made this scroll to make it seem as though they did win. Another similarity is the aspect
of loyalties and families. As stated previously, the Night Attack on Sanjo Palace included
the conflict between the Minamoto family and the Taira family. The Bayeux Tapestry
also shows this type of situation, the conflict being between William, the Duke of
Normandy, and Harold, the Earl of Wessex. A third similarity could be that both artworks
are records of a battle fought over power. The Bayeux Tapestry was a...