A print of this same design can be found in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The MFA suggests that it illustrates the actor in a production of the play "Kanadehon Chushingura" staged at the Nakamura Theater in the fifth month of 1783.
About the artist
A student of Shunsho, Shunei Katsukawa was a prolific and successful woodblock print artist. Most active from the mid-1780s through the 1790s, his earliest known work is an illustrated book published in 1782. He is credited as one of the first artists to popularize the emerging okubi-e, or “big head,” style portraits. In addition to actor prints, Shunei designed studies of sumo wrestlers. A contemporary of Toyokuni I and Sharaku, Shunei’s prints are distinctive in their active, yet balanced compositions and dramatic flair.