Japanese Geisha’s tradition in art

 

Japanese-Geishas-art

         ‘Night Rain’ by Kitagawa Utamaro

c.1797

 

(Sarusawa-Pond-in-Nara),-by-Koitsu,-Tsuchiya,-1930's geisha at the link in the snow

‘Sarusawa Pond in Nara’ by Koitsu Tsuchiya

1930’s

 

The distinctive facial decoration and hairstyles, refined kimonos made of silks with exquisite colorful designs and the graceful demeanor of the Geisha have presented an entrancing subject for Japanese artists over the centuries.
The tradition of the geisha is still deeply entrenched in Japanese culture. The selection process starts at a young age of around 15 and training is fairly rigorous over several years. Known as a Maiko in the beginning, the young women observe and train after being accepted into an Okiya ( Geisha house) – where they live and are taught the art of Geisha by an Okasan (Japanese for mother).
They are taught the subtleties of Japanese culture including tea ceremony, flower arrangement, calligraphy, poetry and performing Japanese traditional music and dance. When they turn 20 and are acknowledged to be skillful in art and service, they become Geiko, a full-fledged Geisha. As a hostess they are expected to carry themselves with grace and poise and they only appear in public wearing their traditional make up and elaborate kiminos. During their service as a geisha they have to renounce most modern trappings, live together with other Geishas and mentor a Maiko.
The are also trained in the art of conversation and service for the entertainment of their male customers. The most literal translation of geisha into English would be “performing artist” or “artisan.” The elegant, high-culture world that geisha are a part of is called karyūkai – “the flower and willow world” which is a metaphor for “beauty and strength” Gentle movement, avoiding direct eye contact by looking downwards and walking slowly, were encouraged to support yin/feminine traits. Their adherence to subservience and mystery was regarded by the geisha to be a statement of passive yin femininity, which to them was a display of empowerment, as their centuries old tradition believed that their well being, strength and balance depended on it.

 

Robj-geisha-figurine

Art Deco Japonaise Veilleuse Brule perfume incense burner by Robj, Paris

 

Historically, Japanese feminists have seen geisha as exploited women but some modern geisha see themselves as liberated feminists.” We find our own way, without doing family responsibilities. Isn’t that what feminists are?” It is known for geisha girls to sometimes marry their clients but their marriage necessitates retirement, as there are never married geisha.
The submissive appearance of the geisha doesn’t betray the full picture as some of the strongest and most financially successful women in Japan have come from a geisha background, and traditionally this has also been so. Mineko Iwasaki, in a Boston Phoenix interview, claimed “The geisha system was founded, actually, to promote the independence and economic self-sufficiency of women. And that was its stated purpose, and it actually accomplished this quite admirably, in Japanese society where there were very few routes for women to achieve that sort of independence.”
The elevated status, mystique and refinement of the Japanese geisha all served to reinforce her unique yin/feminine qualities and contribute to the preservation of the traditional Japanese aesthetic. The are rightly taught to believe they are a living work of art and an affirmation of Japanese ‘iki’ (artistic chic)

 

 

Circa-1890-antique-japanese-woodblock-print-BIJINGA.-WOMAN-playing-with-a-CAT

‘Woman playing with a Cat’ – Antique Japanese woodblock print by Utamaro Bijinga.

Circa 1890

 

Geisha-girls-playing-traditional-music

Geisha girls performing music

Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

 

 

 

Geisha-with-implements-used-in-the-Tea-Ceremony

A Geisha with tea ceremony implements

 

 

Hanaogi-of-the-Ogiya.-Ukiyo-e-woodblock-print,-about-1830’s,-Japan,-by-artist-Keisai-Eisen.

‘Hanaogi of the Ogiya’  – Ukiyo e woodblock print by Keisai Eisen

about 1830’s, Japan

 

 

 

'Fan-Dancer'-designed-by-Alexander-A-Danel for Austin Sculptures

Geisha ‘Fan Dancer’ – Alexander A. Danel design for Austin Sculptures

 

 

 

Geisha-Craig-Schaffer abstract cubist sculpture

‘Geisha’ –  Craig Schaffer, USA

 

 

 

SATSUMA-MINI-GEISHA-VASE with twin handles

Small Satsuma Geisha and Maiko vase

 

 

 

geisha-tokyo photo Robbie Hood

Spirit of Geisha – 1995

I took this photo with a Canon F1 film camera. The Japanese girl was an amatuer model, but a very instinctive and natural muse.

 

 

 

Geisha-playing-the-Koto-or-Japanese-harp-by-Agence-Mondial,-1932.

Geisha playing the Koto by Agence Mondial

1932

 

 

SATSUMA-vase-KYOTO-WARE-hand-painted-meiji-1900-GEISHA-BIJIN-blue-SIGNED-15.75

Hand-painted Satsuma vase, Kyoto ware

Meiji 1900

 

 

Woman-with-Umbrella-in-Snow-Artist-Unknown,-Japanese-Attributed-to-Kitagawa-Utamaro-I,-Japanese,-–1806-Japanese

‘Woman with Umbrella in Snow’ – Attributed to Kitagawa Utamaro I

Japan, 1806

 

 

 

Fin DAC street art on a wall in London

Geisha street art in London by Fin DAC

 

 

Vintage photo of a Geisha preparing hair

Vintage image of Geisha in preparation

 

 

A-Beauty-in-Snow---by-Koryusai---1770's japanese painting

‘A Beauty in Snow’ — by Koryusai

1770’s

 

 

 

Rōka-no-geigi-(Entertainer-standing-on-a-veranda)---Eizan-Kikukawa-(1787-1867)

‘Rōka no geigi (Entertainer standing on a veranda) ‘- Eizan Kikukawa (1787-1867)

 

 

 

 

One-of-a-Pair-of-Sliding-Doors with geisha dancing painting

Dancing geisha decoration on door

 

 

 

 

Flowers-of-Edo-Young-Woman's-Narrative-Chanting-to-the-Shamisen

‘Flowers of Edo’ – Young Woman’s Narrative Chanting to the Shamisen by Kitagawa Utamaro

c. 1800

 

 

Antique-Japanese-Satsuma-vase;-of-bulbous-form-with-a-wide-flared-squared-mouth;-figural-panels--cobalt-blue-ground

Antique Japanese Satsuma vase

 

 

snowy-day-by-Eizan - Japanese painting

‘Snowy day’ by Eizan

 

 

 

ANTIQUE-SATSUMA-FIGURE-Deity

Japanese Satsuma female figurine

 

 

100-year-old-hand-colored-photo-okinawa-soba

Over a century old hand coloured geisha photo

 

 

Asian-Japanese-(19th-Cent)-Satsuma-porcelain-decorated-pitcher-with-scrolll-handle-and-scenes-of-2-women-and-floral-design

 Japanese  Satsuma porcelain decorated pitcher with scroll handle and scenes of 2 women and floral design

19th century

 

Nakai-Omiya-Hanshiro-Iwai - Utagawa Toyokuni I Japanese art

‘Nakai Omiya Hanshiro Iwai’ – Utagawa Toyokuni I

1818

Waseda University Theatre Museum

 

 

 

Ca.1905-hand-tinted-half-stereoview-image-by-T.-ENAMI-of-Yokohama.

 Hand tinted half-stereoview image of Geisha’s by T. Enami of Yokohama.

Ca.1905

 

 

 

 

Geisha-girl-in-red ku-ma-Iwai-half-Shiro---Utagawa-Toyokuni-I

 Ku ma Iwai half Shiro – Utagawa Toyokuni I

 

 

 

 

 

Toyohara-Kunichika-1867-Eight-of-the-inner-Edo-yo-shi-wa-raののMing-Zhong

‘Yearning at dawn in Yoshiwara’ – Toyohara Kunichika

Edo 1867

 

 

 

Evening-Snow-at-Edo-River’-1932-woodblock-print-by-Hasui-Kawase-by-Plum-leaves-on-Flickr

‘Evening Snow at Edo River’  woodblock print by Hasui Kawase

1932

Plum leaves on Flickr

 

 

 

Geisha-Girl-Handpainted-Vintage-China-Chocolate-or-Coffee-Pot-by-bellefleurantiques-on-Etsy

Geisha Girl Panel Handpainted Vintage Chocolate or Coffee Pot

bellefleurantiques on Etsy

 

 

 

Geisha-Memories,-2011-Mariko

‘Geisha Memories’ – Mariko

2011

 

 

 

GEISHA-ON-A-MORNING-WALK-WITH-PAPER-PARASOL----A-Riverside-Scene-in-Old-Japan

‘Geisha on a morning walk by a river’ – vintage photo

Okinawa Soba – Flickr

 

 

Group of Geishas - Satsuma-vase

Japanese porcelain Satsuma vase

 

Hiroaki-Takahashi-painting-of-geisha

 ‘The Pine Tree of Success on the Sumida River’  – Hiroaki Takahashi

1910

 

 

KOITSU-Japanese-Woodblock-Print-SNOW-AT-NEZU-SHRINE-1934

‘Snow at Nezu Shrine’ – Koitsu

1934

 

 

 

Japanese-print - 1920-25 'Heron Maiden' - Nakamura Daizaburo

‘Heron Maiden‘ – Nakamura Daizaburo

1920-25

 

 

 

Hedi-Schoop-Woman-Vase-Iridescent-Glaze-Geisha-Girl

Mid-Century Geisha girl with iridescent glaze by Hedi Schoop

California

 

 

 

The-spirit-of-the-heron-maiden-woodblock-print-by-Taniguchi-Kokyo-(1864-1915),-----dated-1925

The spirit of the heron maiden woodblock print by Taniguchi Kokyo (1864-1915), dated 1925

From a Japanese folktale

 

 

 

Japanese-Kutani-Japanese-Geisha-Musician-Porcelain-Figure

Japanese porcelain figurine Japanese Geisha Girl Kutani Musician

 

 

 

Japanese-Satsuma-Vase-with-Bijin

Japanese Satsuma Vase

 

 

 

Japanese-Sumida-Gawa-earthenware-teapot.-The-finial-depicts-a-seated-male-figure.-Raised-crab-and-sea-motif.

Japanese Sumida Gawa earthenware teapot. The finial depicts a seated male figure. Raised crab and sea motif.

 

 

 

Japanese-woodblock-print-postcard---Butterfly-Obi-1945

Japanese woodblock print postcard –  ‘Butterfly Obi’

1945

 

 

Japan-Kimono-Geisha-Women-Postcard

Geisha instruction

 

 

 

Katsushino-of-the-Aka-Tsutaya.--Ukiyo-e-woodblock-print,-early-1800’s,-Japan,-by-artist-Kikugawa-Eizan

‘Katsushino of the Aka-Tsutaya’. Ukiyo-e woodblock print,  by artist Kikugawa Eizan

early 1800’s, Japan

 

 

Lake Biwa by Koho-Shoda-(Japanese-Woodblock-Prints)

‘Lake Biwa’ – Koho Shoda

 

 

 

Lladro-Japanese-Portrait---Asian---Decorative-Objects-And-Figurines---Sculpted-By-Miguel-Angel-Santaeulalia---Hand-Made-In-Spain

Japanese geisha figurine – Miguel Angel Santaeulalia for Lladro, Spain

 

 

 

Kutani--Porcelain-Figure-of-a-Woman-with-Kitten,-circa-1870 - MEMPHIS-ONE-PL

Kutani–porcelain-figure – Woman with Kitten

circa 1870  – Memphis One, 1stDibs

 

MEETING-AT-THE-GATE----Japanese-Girls-in-Kimono-at-the-Entrance-to-Genkyu-en-Gardens-in-HIKONE-okinawa-soba

Greetings at the Gate —- Japanese girls in kimono at the entrance to Genkyu en Gardens in Hikone

Okinawa soba, Flickr

 

 

 

Golden Geisha-dancing-with-a-fan.-National-Library-of-France,-Public-Domain

Geisha dancing with a fan

National Library of France

 

 

 

Miss Taiko, Miss Tzumi, Miss Samisen----Three Geisha playing music in Old Meiji- Era-Japan

Miss Taiko, Miss Tzumi, Miss Samisen—-Three Geisha playing music

Meiji Era Japan

 

 

 

Plate,-Edo-period-(1615–1868),-1760-Japan,-Hizen-Province,-Arita-kiln-Porcelain-decorated-with-the-figure-of-Ononokomachi-in-blue-and-brilliant-enamels---Met

Plate, Edo period (1615–1868), 1760 Japan, Hizen Province, Arita kiln Porcelain decorated with the figure of Ononokomachi in blue and brilliant enamels – Met

 

 

 

okinawa-soba----three Geisha girls at the garden gate

Geisha girls at the garden

Okinawa Soba, flickr

 

 

 

Pictures-of-MosaicMosaic-picture-Girl-with-a-letter

Geisha girl reading a scroll – Mosaic Studio

 

 

porcelain-Imari-vase_Hand-painted-Chinese-14-inch-high-porcelain-onion-shaped-jar-in-Geisha-design.---Copy

Chinese Porcelain Imari  hand painted vase

 

 

 

Reclining-Geisha figurine by Lladro

‘Reclining Geisha’ – Lladro

 

 

 

 

Vintage-geisha-photo of an Oiran girl wearing her obi at the front

Japanese Oiran (courtesan) with her Obi tied to the front ( as opposed to the geisha who tie them to their back)

 

 

 

 

Unusual Kinkozan Satsuma vase with geisha fan motif, earthenware vessel of cylindrical form, with rounded shoulder

Tall Geisha Kinkozan Satsuma vase

 

 

 

Vases-japonais-porcelain satsuma

 Satsuma footed ovoid pair of vases

 

 

 

 

Jap-Birdimal-vase-by-Weller-Pottery by Frederick Hurten Rhead

 Weller Pottery –  Birdimal Orange Japanese vase with geisha girl motif by Frederick Hurten Rhead

 

 

 

 
 

 

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