Utamaro: Silkworm Cultivation: Stage number Seven
Artist: Kitagawa Utamaro
Title: Silkworm Cultivation: Stage number Seven (kaiko no tane o ? zu)
Series: Women Engaged in the Sericulture Industry ((Joshoku kaiko tewaza-gusa)
Date: ca. 1798-1800
The 12 pictures of this series show the stages in sericulture, silkworm cultivation, traditionally considered the purview of women. The color scheme of this series focuses on purple (in purple picture style murasaki-e), avoiding red. This print, the 7th of the series, shows the stage of the metamophosis, when the winged moth stage silkworms are used to lay eggs. The text explains the specific stage in more detail.
In the cloud-shaped borders, the text describes their activities, taken verbatim from the series of twelve chuban prints by Katsukawa Shunshô and Kitao Shigemasa, Kaiko yashinai-gusa. It is thought that these prints were made to help promote the silk industry. The text explains: “From silkworms which are making cocoons, good ones are selected, attached to threads and suspended. Out of cocoons the moth caterpillars emerge. A male and female are put together and moved onto papers. The females lay eggs. This is called uwako(?)”.
Condition: Excellent color. Very good impression and condition. Large sheet.
Publisher: Tsuruya Kiemon
Literature: Illustrated in Ukiyo-e zuten by Kiyoshi Shibui, p. 138. For others in the series: Asano, Shûgô & Clark, Timothy: The Passionate Art of Kitagawa Utamaro, Chiba City Museum of Art, 1995, pp.205-6, #325 & 326.
Signature: Utamaro hitsu