Weavers’ Children in the Silkworm House

(Sanka shokushi nu zu)

Publisher: Sano-ya Kihei

c. 1840

 

This series, which is comprised of 10 numbered prints, shows children performing the various tasks in the manufacture of silk.  It is listed as number 116 in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961).  The prints are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ôban.

 

Number: 1

Title: Picture of beginning of silkworm rearing 

Description: A boy carrying two baskets of mulberry leaves on a pole on his shoulders while two other children prepare the silk worm eggs

 

 

Number: 2

Title: Picture of picking mulberry leaves

Description: Two children harvesting mulberry leaves

 

 

Number: 3

Title: Picture of cutting mulberry leaves and feeding silkworms

Description: One child is cutting mulberry leaves with a cleaver while two others are feeding the leaves to silkworms

 

 

Number: 4

Title: Picture of sleeping before fifth ecdysis (molting)

Description: A girl is using a feather to clean a tray of ‘sleeping’ silkworms while two boys are standing behind her with mulberry leaves

 

 

Number: 5

Title: Picture of silkworm of fifth instar (stage between two moltings)

Description: Three children standing with two baskets of mulberry leaves

 

 

Number: 6

Title: Picture of cocoons

Description: Three children–one holding a tray of cocoons and another kneeling by a tray on the floor

 

 

This is another edition of the above print.  The square, containing the number “six”, on the right side below the main cartouche has been recut.

 

Number: 7

Title: Picture of silk moth and silkworm eggs production

Description: Three children kneeling on the floor watching silkworm moths fly away

 

 

Number: 8

Title: Picture of the making of raw silk by hand

Description: Three children extracting raw silk from cocoons

 

 

This is another edition of the above print.  The square, containing the number “eight”, in the right upper corner has been recut.

 

Number: 9

Title: Picture of the making of silk floss by hand

Description: Three children around a small stove making silk floss

 

 

Number: 10

Title: Picture of the hand weaving of silk fabric

Description: Two children at a loom

 

‘Robinson’ refers to listing of the series in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961). 

 

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