Ohatsu (お初), faithful servant of the young court lady Onoe (尾上), cleans her sword with the zori (草履) sandal with which lady Iwafuji (岩藤) had beaten her beloved mistress. Onoe, in fact, unable to bear the humiliation suffered, took her own life and when Ohatsu learned of the suicide, through the letter testament that here she holds between the lips, decided to avenge the young lady by killing the despotic Iwafuji. Following the revenge, Ohatsu was rewarded for her loyalty and received as a reward the name and position at court of her mistress Onoe.
The fine woodblock presented here was made in 1859 by the artist Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) and by the engraver Yokokawa Takejiro (横川竹二郎), is titled “The Maidservant Ohatsu” (下女お初) and is taken from the series “Biographies of Famous Women, Ancient and Modern” (古今名婦伝) produced by the publisher Uoya Eikichi (魚屋栄吉).
The print, despite the two small wormholes visible in the upper left corner, is in very good condition, thanks also to a relining carried out on the back with another sheet of Japanese washi paper (和紙).