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
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm preferably for no more than two individuals at a time.
Visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing at their discretion.
site last updated
July 23, 2021
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
Join our mailing list...