My Japanese Silk Reeling Print

Silk Reeling Print
I found this print while wandering shops in Japan. The shop was so tiny we had to remove our backpacks and go in single file. This print caught my eye immediately. I knew it had to do with reeling silk, but couldn’t quite figure out what all was going on.

[click photos to enlarge]

Silk Reeling Print Detail Reeling
Here’s the reeling of the silk from the cocoons.


Silk Reeling Print Detail Moths
Two silk moths – why are they shown this way? And is the hairdo significant?
Here is a scene but I wonder if it has anything to do with silk.
Here is a scene but I wonder if it has anything to do with silk.


3 thoughts on “My Japanese Silk Reeling Print”

  1. At first I thought the second pic was a loom, but embiggening it (as they say), makes me think it looks more like a street scene with tiny people hurrying somewhere. Could it be an outdoor market? But what are those circle things?
    You’d probably need a Japan scholar’s help.
    Let me know if you find out anything, please.

  2. No ideas on your print questions, but I had an old Japanese print years ago and found the curator at the Asian Art Museum in downtown SF was helpful in deciphering it’s age and background.

  3. I asked a friend of mine, who is an Edo Period specialist and this is what he said:
    “While I am no expert in ukiyoe, I think that the scene in Peggy O’s print may be of a kimono store. Hiroshige included a shopping street in his 100 Views of Edo series. Here’s a link to that image:,_Sugura_street.jpg
    In the Edo period, shoppers would sit on tatami mats while the salespeople would bring items to them (often from storage areas upstairs) rather than have people select goods from shop displays.”


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