We hear first of the Fujiwara family, and then of the rivalry between the houses of Taira and Minamoto.
The struggle between the Taira and Minamoto clans for the power that had long been practically abandoned by the Imperial line lasted through the 11th and the greater part of the 12th centuries, ending only with the rise of Yoritomo to the shogunate in 1185.
The great struggle between the Taira and Minamoto clans had ended, but the militant spirit was still strong, and brought work for the artists who made and ornamented arms and armour.
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Legend has it that the powerful Taira clan jumped to a watery grave in the sea after a humiliating defeat by the Minamoto clan, but their souls took flight in the form of butterflies and made their way heavenwards.