|Isoda Koryusai ""The Yujo Koshikibu of Takeya painting on vertical scroll held by a young maid"|
I am generalizing and simplifying, but in such cultures I get the sense that painting was considered an attractive accomplishment for courtesans and for ladies-in-waiting, as it served to show off their exquisite sensitivity and refinement. It was also a safe and respectable way to pass their time as they awaited the next visit from their patron (courtesan/concubine) or ceremonial duty (lady-in-waiting.)
I could not find out any more about Koshikibu of Takeya specifically, but as far as I am able to discover, the term Yujo means courtesan or licensed prostitute. Different copies of this woodblock print can be found in the collection of the British Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Isoda Koryusai (1735-1790) was a Japanese painter and printmaker. It is believed that he was born into a Samurai family, one of the elite warrior class, and was forced to take up the craft of printmaker when he became a ronin, or masterless samurai, but this point is hotly disputed by different historians. He was amazingly prolific and his talent was wide-ranging, including naturalistic studies of birds and elegant depictions of beautiful women. He also produced hundreds of shunga, erotic prints which were hugely popular during the Edo period in Japan.