Naniwa-ya Okita(難波屋おきた), one of the most famous model of Utamaro’s woodblock prints
Among the ukiyo-e artists in Japan, Kitagawa Utamaro was second to none in beautiful woman portrait(bijinga). He painted various pictures of middle class women in Edo, but especially Naniwa-ya Okita appeared in many works.
But originally she was only a town girl.
Okita also became the kanban-musume for Naniwa-ya. And Utamaro drew her woodblock print for the first time in 1793 when she was 16 years old. Most of the girls didn’t wait on the customers but she did as the pictures show her appearance of bringing the green tea.
She was so charming and did good service. In no time, lots of people came to Naniwa-ya and Sensoji temple to see her. Occationally, the crowd disturbed their business and she sprinkled to drive them away. But some stood on a wooden bucket and tried to look her.
Utamaro continued to paint Okita and left the most works about her through his artist life.
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