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    Sale 2266

    Japanese and Korean Art

    17 March 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 68

    Kitagawa Utamaro (1753?-1806)

    Joshoku kaiko tewaza-kusa (Women engaged in the sericulture industry)

    Price Realised  

    Kitagawa Utamaro (1753?-1806)
    Joshoku kaiko tewaza-kusa (Women engaged in the sericulture industry)
    The complete set, each signed Utamaro hitsu and published by Tsuruya Kinsuke--good and very good impressions, some colors faded, trimmed, some soiling and staining, repairs

    The series comprising:

    1. "Tending the newly hatched worms," depicting a woman with a feather brushing the worms from the paper upon which they have been incubated, two other women look on

    2. "Picking mulberry leaves," depicting a woman on a stand and a woman on a ladder picking mulberry leaves, another woman gathering them in a basket

    3. "Feeding the silkworms," depicting a girl dicing the mulberry leaves on a block in the foreground while two others are feeding the worms on trays in the background

    4. "Stirring the silkworms," depicting a girl in the foreground stirring the silkworms in a tray, another bearing a tray of worms and another taking away an empty tray

    5. "The great awakening of the silkworms," depicting three girls tearing off the leaves from mulberry branches to feed the silkworms while another arrives with fresh branches

    6. "The cocoon stage," depicting a girl arranging the cocoons on a tray, another holds a full tray and another watches the scene
    7. "The emergence of the moths," depicting two girls watching moths lay eggs on a piece of paper, another standing and looking at the scene
    8. "Watching moths," depicting two women and their children watching flying moths in the evening

    9. "Winding the thread," depicting a woman winding thread taken from cocoons boiling in a pan of water, two other women watching the scene

    10. "Stretching the silk floss," depicting two women stretching the silk floss by twisting around wooden posts, another girl in the background hanging the silk in skeins over a bamboo rod

    11. "Spinning the silk," depicting a woman seated in the background spinning silk on a loom and a standing woman in the foreground

    12. "Weaving the silk," depicting a woman seated before a loom about to throw the shuttle, two assistants standing beside
    oban tate-e: 37.2 x 25cm., each approx. (12)


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    These genre scenes illustrate the stages of sericulture, traditionally women's work, in a series of twelve numbered designs. Purple dominates the color scheme in the aptly named "purple picture" (murasaki-e) style. The text at the top of each sheet within cloud borders is taken from the series of twelve chuban designs of the subject by Katsukawa Shunsho and Kitao Shigemasa of around 1772.

    Another set was sold in these Rooms, Japanese Prints, Paintings, Illustrated Books and Drawings, from the Collection of the late Theodor Scheiwe, Part I, 21 March 1989, lot 80.