Kunichika was born in the Kyobashi area of Edo (now Tokyo). Although the artists’ real name given at birth was Oshima Yasohachi, Kunichika is a combination of the names of his two teachers, Toyohara Chikanobu and Utagawa Kunisada. By one report, Toyohara Kunichika changed residences over 110 times while changing wives 40 times. He once boasted, “Although I can't equal Hokusai in art, I beat him in the number of times I've moved.”
This painting is one of a series of works ‘Portraits of Actor’, a traditional Japanese Ukyio-e style illustration of a noble woman. Kunichika was in love with Kabuki theatre, which inspired him to depict actors in their various roles and varying facial expressions.
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