Minamoto no Tsunemoto was a 10th-century courtier who saved the life of Emperor Shujaku. One evening, a demonic stag with red eyes and a mouth full of dagger-like teeth appeared on the roof of the Joganden Palace in Kyoto. As it threatened the emperor on his evening stroll, Tsunemoto shot the monster down with a single arrow. Yoshitoshi presents the stag at the moment of impact; the archer’s hand is still drawn back, the deer’s head has yet to hit the ground. The animal lacks the demonic nature described in the story and appears as a harmless young stag. Tsunemoto stands strong beneath the falling autumn leaves, dynamic in his stance, his elaborate clothing suspended through his movements. While the warrior’s face is turned away from the viewer, the deer’s dark eye catches the moonlight.