Kitagawa Utamaro, 1753-1806
Twelve Types of Womens Handicraft: Weaving
signed Utamaro hitsu, with publisher's seal Waka (Wakasaya Jingoro), ca. 1798-1800
oban tate-e 14 3/4 by 10 1/4 in., 37.4 by 26 cm
In the late 1790s Utamaro began to design several series of double half-length and okubi-e ('big head') portraits - either depicting a range of archetype pairs of lovers, or two-for-one compositions of pairs of beauties. While the title for this series implies a focus on women working, Asano & Clark point out that the activities depicted are less concerned with the occupations of women and should be understood as an expansion of the 'customs of women' (bijin fuzokuga) theme. With only the series title indicated on the print, the individual designs are known by the subject depicted, including: Gion Bean Curd (Gion-dofu), Hairdresser (Kami-yui), Cloth-Stretcher (Shinshi-bari), Artist (Eishi), Toothbrush-Seller (Yoji-uri), Making Handballs (Temari-zukuri), Needlework (Saiho), Village School or Calligraphy Teacher (Terakoya), Making Fabric Pictures (Oshie-zukuri), Floss-Stretching (Wata-kuri), and this one, which has an alternate title of Spinning Thread (Ito-kuri) and is scarce to the market.
Jack Hillier, Japanese Prints and Drawings from the Vever Collection, Volume Two, 1976, p. 428, no. 452
Ukiyo-e Shuka, vol. 3, 1978, listed p. 248, no. 232.5 (British Museum)
Ukiyo-e Shuka, vol. 11, 1979, p. 200, no. 266, (British Museum)
Asano & Clark, The Passionate Art of Kitagawa Utamaro, 1995, text pp. 199-201 (not illustrated)
British Museum, ex Charles Hazelwood Shannon Collection, accession no. 1937,0710,0.62
Legion of Honor, San Francisco, ex Carlotta Mabury Collection, accession no. 54755.211
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