Yasuke

Gold Leaf and Acrylic on Wood Panel

2021

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Created by Mark Steven Greenfield as a part of his series, "Hey-Lo".

Balthazar, 2021, Acrylic and Gold Leaf on Wood Panel, 20 X 16, (L).jpg

Yasuke was a man of African origin who served as a kashin (like a samurai) during the mid-late 1500s. Yasuke was one of the several Africans to have come with the Portuguese to Japan during the Nanban trade. When Yasuke was presented to Oda Nobunaga, the Japanese daimyō thought that his skin must have been coloured with black ink. Nobunaga had him strip from the waist up and made him scrub his skin. When Nobunaga realized that the African man's skin was indeed black, he took an interest in him. He fought honorably in battle, and his death remains a mystery.