It is recorded that this was one of Utamaro’s most successful books. The preface was written by Shikitei Sanba (1776-1822), a writer of gesaku (literally ‘playful’ fiction). The term karanishiki alludes to Chinese brocade silk which was exported to Japan for trading because Chinese nobility could only wear their robes a few times and it could not be sold to lower classes in China.
See Chris Uhlenbeck et. al., Japanese Erotic Fantasies: Sexual Imagery of the Edo Period, (Amsterdam, 2005), p. 140