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Artist: Suzuki Harunobu (鈴木春信)

Print: Osen of the Kagiya teahouse playing with a kitten

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Dates: circa 1769,created
Dimensions: 4.5 in,26.5 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print
Inscription:

Signed: Harunobu ga (春信画)
Seal: Harunobu

Related links: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Chazen Museum of Art;

Physical description:

Osen of the Kagiya must have been a great beauty. Not only was she portrayed in numerous prints by Harunobu, but also in prints by others such as Shigemasa and Bunchō. She was written about by two famous authors and even made a character in one puppet play.

Her family name was Kagiya Gohei (鍵屋五衛). She was called the "extraordinary tea-kettle" (tonda chagama - とんだ茶釜).

We know the name, Kurachi Mitsufusa Masanosuke, and background of the samurai she married. We know where they lived and the family that they raised. We also know that "Osen survived her husband by many years, not dying until the 29th day, 1st month, 1827." There is more information and art created around this woman than that of almost any other single contemporary of hers. No wonder Harunobu chose to portray her so often. She was one of his muses.

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This print is listed as #580 in the Waterhouse catalogue of Harunobu prints at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. It is illustrated in color in volume 2 with the text in volume 1 on page 320.

Waterhouse notes that "...a sign above her stall reads Kagiya: Oyasumi-dokoro..."