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
- weaving designs
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.