Okita of the Naniwaya teahouse Half-length portrait of the teahouse waitress carrying a tea cup on a black lacquer tray, white mica background, signed Utamaro hitsu, published by Tsutaya Juzaburo--good impression, faded, horizontal centerfold and crease, diagonal crease under tray, two stains top, pin hole worming, mica worn especially at edges, red collection seals on verso visible oban tate-e: 38.3 x 25.5cm.
Artist or Maker
Kitagawa Utamaro (1754-1806)
For another impression see Asano Shugo and Timothy Clark, The Passionate Art of Kitagawa Utamaro (Tokyo and London: Asahi shinbun and British Museum Press, 1995), pl. 107. The catalogue entry transcribes and translates the kyoka (comic verse) on the poem-slip top left by Katsura no Mayuzumi:
Naniwaya-cho chaya ni yasuraide: Naniwazu no na ni ou mono wa yuki kai ni ashi no tomaranu hito mo araji na
Resting at the tea-house in Naniwaya-cho: myriad as the reeds of Naniwa Bay are those who come running at the name of this shop-- each passerby has to stop
This print, dated ca. 1793, is a portrait of Okita, one of the "Three Beauties of the Present Day," and one of Utamaro's favorite subjects. Okita was about fifteen at the time Utamaro made this print of her. She was the attraction of the Naniwaya teahouse, a fine establishment just outside the Zuijin Gate of the Asakusa Temple in Edo.
Another impression was sold in these Rooms, 19 September 2000, lot 204.