Britain's leading historian of Samurai warfare describes, explains and illustrates the strikingly colourful heraldry of the great warring families and their feudal armies in medieval Japan. Illustrated with many identified examples, this title traces the story from the earliest display of family mon in the eighth century and the simple hata-jirushi coloured flags of the 12th century Taira and Minamoto wars, through the great flowering of clan armies in the Kamakura and Muromachi periods (13th-15th centuries), to the nobori marking systematic unit organization in the climactic struggles for the shogunate in the 16th century.
Stephen Tumbull is the world's leading English language authority on medieval Japan and the samurai. He has travelled extensively in the far east, particularly in Japan and Korea and is the author of The Samurai - A Military History and Men-at-Arms 86 Samurai Armies 1550-1615. Angus McBride, one of the world's most respected historical illustrators, has contributed to more than 70 Osprey titles over the past 25 years. Born in 1931 of Highland parents but orphaned as a child, he received a musical education at Canterbury Cathedral Choir School in 1940-45. He worked in advertising agencies from 1947, and is a self-taught artist. After national service in the Royal Fusiliers, 1949-51, in 1953 Angus emigrated to South Africa. He returned to the UK in 1961, and has worked freelance ever since. With his wife and two children he returned to South Africa in 1976, since when he has lived and worked in Cape Town.
Appearance of mon as early as Nara period; 12th century Taira & Minamoto wars, hata-jirushi; 13th/14th centuries - the Mongol invasions period; 15th/16th centuries - heraldry carried on shields, nobori banners, sahimono flags attached to armour, maku screens; army organization produces systems of coloured unit flags/symbols; Buddhist & Christian symbolism; Uma-jirushi commanders' flags; Tsuki-ban messenger corps - the horo displayed cloak; 17th century - the fully developed system of the early Edo period.