Osen of the Kagiya Teahouse at Kasamori Shrine with a View of Nippori in Yanaka
Suzuki Harunobu (Japanese, 1725–1770)
Edo period (1615–1868)
Polychrome woodblock print; chuban; ink and color on paper
10 x 15 1/2 in. (25.4 x 39.4 cm)
medium-size print (chu-ban)
Gift of Mrs. Morris Manges, in memory of her husband, Dr. Morris Manges, 1947
Not on view
The Kagiya teahouse, located in the precinct of the Kasamori Inari Shrine in the capital, Edo, is depicted in the foreground. The landscape of Higurashinosato (Nippori) is seen in the background, including a popular spot for the recreational activity of throwing dishes over a cliff to watch their trajectory, which is depicted at top right.
Tea shops, commonly found near the entrance to Shinto shrines, became popular meeting places during the Edo period, as much the object of the excursion as the actual visit to the shrine. Osen, a young tea maid at the Kagiya shop, located in front of the torii entrance to Kasamori Shrine, was made famous by Harunobu's several depictions of her and was perhaps the real object of his visits there during the late 1760s. Here, she turns coyly from an importunate admirer. Another tea maid, near a bench at the left, tries to ward off a bold customer's advance. The arriving party of four might be participating in a pilgrimage to the shrine. The lighthearted, hedonistic nature of these popular pilgrimages is amply evident in Harunobu's depiction of this scene, which includes one of his few landscape depictions.
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