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A SERIES OF TWELVE CHINESE PAINTINGS IN GOUACHE ON RICE-PAPER DEPICTING THE SILK PRODUCTION

 

Anonymous Chinese artist, 19th century

Each approx. 24.1 x 36.1 cm

The present series depicts:
- picking the mulberry leaves

- bathing the eggs
- the third moulting
- choosing the mature silkworms
- warming the trays
- heating the cocoons and reeling the threads 

- reeling the threads
- cleaning the threads
- warping
- dyeing
- drying
- weaving designs 

 

Note:

Depiction of scenes of silk, tea, rice and porcelain production has a long history in China. Already in the Southern Song dynasty a series illustrating rice farming and another one demonstrating the creation of silk, drawn by Lou Chou (1090-1162), are known. The artist’s original work is now lost, but many versions survive in several forms – engravings cut in wood or stone, watercolours and paintings.

Since there are twenty-three episodes in the traditional sequence of ‘silk’ scenes, and most export series were produced in sets of twelve, the latter scenes often combine two of the former.