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Kunichika Toyohara (artist, 1835–1900)
A beautiful woman, Kogiku, looking at photographic portraits (cartes de visite with the stamp of Uchida Kuichi), possibly of her admirers
37 × 25 cm
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
Prints & Photographs Division, LC-DIG-ppmsca-18843 (digital file from original print)
Ukiyo-e print showing a beautiful woman, Kogiku, looking at photographic portraits (cartes de visite), possibly of her admirers. Photography was so new in Japan when this print was created that the artist is also representing his country's growing contact with the western world and modern technology. The sake and grilled fish in the rectangle above the woman's head show one restaurant's culinary specialties. The long, vertical cartouche on the right calls the woman Kogiku, which translates as "small chrysanthemum," and gives the address in Saruwaka-Cho (now Asakusa), an entertainment district in Japan's capital city. The stamp on the carte de visite represents the noted Tokyo portrait photographer Uchida Kuichi (1844–1875), who had a studio in Asakusa.