Kasamori Osen 笠森お仙
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
A depiction of a famous beauty of the Meiwa 明和 era (1764-72). Until her marriage in 1771 at age 19, Osen お仙 was a waitress at the tea shop Kagiya かぎや in the precinct of Kasamori Inari Jinja 笠森稲荷神社 located at Yanaka 谷中 in Edo. She is described in Oota Nanpou's 大田南畝 HANJITSU KANWA 半日閑話 (1770). Towels with her picture, prints, illustrated books, and even Osen dolls were sold. After the actor Nakajima Mihozou 中島三甫蔵 mentioned her in a play, her popularity further increased. Osen, together with Ofuji お藤 of the toothpick shop Hon'yanagi 本柳 and Oyoshi お芳 of the teahouse Tsutaya 蔦屋, were called the Three Beauties, and appear in the 1779 AMEURI DOHEI DEN 売飴土平伝 by Nanpou which was illustrated by Suzuki Harunobu 鈴木春信 (1725-70). Osen appears mostly in Meiwa era *ukiyo-e 浮世絵 prints, particularly those by Harunobu and Ippitsusai Bunchou 一筆斎文調 (fl. ca 1760-70). She is usually depicted in front of the shop or waiting on customers. A part of the Kasamori Inari Jinja gate, is often depicted in the background. In addition parody pictures *mitate-e 見立絵 portray her in the *Akutagawa 芥川 scene from the ISE MONOTARARI 伊勢物語 (The Tales of Ise).


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