The most distinctive feature of these handscrolls is the unusual fusion of text and image. In some areas the text is brushed in spaces at top and bottom, at times to the extent that it overruns the illustrations; in other cases, an image might interrupt an inscription mid-sentence.The Nun Who Lost Two Sons at the Battle of Yashima Toward the end of the Heian period, in the late twelfth century, power shifted first to the Heike (Taira) clan and then to the Minamoto (Genji), which was led by Yoritomo (1147–1199). His brother, the young general Minamoto no Yoshitsune (1159–1189), led the Genji army to victory against the Heike at Yashima. With time, Yoritomo began to fear that his brother’s power exceeded his own, and he embarked upon a campaign to suppress him. Enemies were closing in on Yoshitsune and his twelve retainers, including his lifelong protector, the brave monk-soldier Musashibō Benkei (1155–1189). In an attempt to evade capture, Yoshitsune and his men disguised themselves as mountain priests (yamabushi) and set off on a treacherous journey from Yoshino, south of Nara, to Hiraizumi, in northeast Japan, where Yoshitsune had once enjoyed the protection of the Fujiwara clan. Late one afternoon, they arrived at a ruined mansion in Shinobu. They asked a Buddhist nun who had been living there if they could take shelter for the night. The nun, recently widowed, welcomed the “priests,” telling them about her family’s decline and about her two sons, Tsugunobu and Tadanobu, who had joined Yoshitsune’s army to fight against the Heike at Yashima. She asked for news of their fate, not knowing that she was talking to their commanding general. Yoshitsune remembered the two young men, who had stood with him on the field and fought bravely to their deaths. The elder son, Tsugunobu, had been felled by an arrow from the bow of the Heike warrior Noritsune while defending his general. To avenge his brother, Tadanobu had killed Noritsune’s retainer Kikuomaru; wounded in the struggle, he, too, expired on the field. Following this tale of her sons’ valor, delivered by Benkei in the declamatory language reserved for the exploits of the bravest military heroes, Yoshitsune revealed his true identity to their mother, thanking her for their courageous service. The next morning the troupe continued their journey to Hiraizumi.