Kitagawa Utamaro
Gathering Mulberry Tree Leaves
c. 1798

Signed: Utamaro hitsu; Publisher’s logo (Tsuruya Ki’emon); ōban, 38.0 x 25.0 cm; murasaki-e

Print 2 from “Women Engaged in Sericulture”. The second print in this series comes to the left of the first one. Each print includes a box for the title of the series and a descriptive text in the clouds at the top. In this case, one about collecting mulberry leaves to feed the silkworms, as in the depiction. The contour block for this print shows considerable wear on the faces of the women, and it is possible that this print was only made after 1800, when the somewhat lighter shades of blue and purple were popular.

John Mellor (Sotheby’s, London, July 1963)
Riese Collection #75

This print falls to the left of the preceding and a corner of the straw mat on which the women in the previous print are kneeling appears in the lower right corner beside the wooden stool here. The text on each print describes the procedure shown or some related matter, in this case the method for feeding silkworms the mulberry leaves. The key block on this print shows some wear, especially on the women’s faces, and it is possible that this impression was printed shortly after 1800 when these somewhat brighter blues and purples were more popular.

Reproduced in: Ingelheim catalogues. No. 67.

The entire set is reproduced with an essay by Jack Hillier in a book published fort he Book Club of California by Ed Grabhorn.