Kasamori Osen of the Kagiya Tea Shop

Toyohara Kunichika

Kasamori Osen, was a young tea maid at the Kagiya shop, located in front of the torii entrance to Kasamori Shrine in the capital, Edo.

Suzuki Harunobu used Osen as a model in 1768 for one of his ukiyo-e woodblocks. Through the works of Harunobu, Osen became famous and one of the top 3 most beautiful women in all of Edo. As a result visitors to Kasamori Inari shrine increased. However, at the peak of Osen’s fame, she disappeared from the teahouse, got married and was blessed with 9 children.

Amy Reigle Newland devoted a whole paragraph on page 18 to the significance of this series, i.e., Zen-aku sanjūroku bijin, at the beginning of her book on Kunichika: "Thirty-six good and evil beauties (Zen-aku sanjūroku bijin)... of 1876 is arguably one of Kunichika's most accomplished forays into bijinga. The quality of printing is superb. His treatment of the subject is fluid, the women portrayed energetic, wild, their poses at times reminiscent of those encountered in the work of earlier artists like Kuniyoshi and Kunisada, and in his own actor prints... Each sheet in Thirty-six good and evil beauties illustrates a famous woman from distant or more recent history with an explanatory cartouche above by a contemporary writer."


Condition: Margins as shown, good condition, great color, not backed, some creases that can probably be removed.

Date: 1876

https://collections.mfa.org/objects/486939