Hidden Women of Japan by Whitney Scheib

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This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not represent the views of the institutions whose collections include the featured works or of Google Arts & Culture.

This gallery highlights some of the most hidden and admired movements of the geisha of Japan. I chose items that reflected the geisha in midst of doing their daily activities. I chose works with high contrast, bright colors, and of various age and mediums. Geisha are an underrated yet essential piece of Japan's history.

Geisha, From the collection of: Regional Museum of History, Plovdiv
This beautiful doll depicts a geisha mid dance. The dark green kimono in life-like, and elegant. The doll appears to be in movement, like a snapshot of her dancing in a tea house. The hem of her kimono even has the appearance of fluttering behind her.
Geisha Playing Samisen, Kazumasa Ogawa, 1897, From the collection of: The J. Paul Getty Museum
This photograph is simple, yet beautiful. The photo shows a young and simple geisha sitting amongst flowers, playing the shamisen. This piece uses color and contrast by using a small amount of red, drawing your eye to the geisha. Contrasted against the pastel colors, it makes the photo "pop".
Geisha in Rain, Keisai Eisen, 19th century, From the collection of: Los Angeles County Museum of Art
This woodblock print depicting a geisha stepping out into the rain is a beautiful example of using lines to give a work movement and depth. This geisha with her bright and complicated obi, and tall geta, or shoes, shows just how much work a geisha puts into her work.
Geisha Tuning a Samisen, Yanagawa Shigenobu II, circa 1835, From the collection of: Los Angeles County Museum of Art
This print shows us a geisha concentrating intently on tuning her shamisen, while a cat looks on. This work uses lines again to add dimension to the room she is in. The room also uses color to contrast between the walls and the floor of the room, giving a sense of depth.
Maiko in a Garden, TSUCHIDA, Bakusen, 1924, From the collection of: The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
This work shows a young geisha, or make sitting amidst a garden. The artist uses emphasis to focus your eye on the geisha in the middle, holding her fan as shit sits in her brightly colored kimono. Yet, he also uses proportion to give the work a depth detailed with rolling hills and trees, all with the same curves leaning toward the center.
Tea Ceremony, Toyohara Kunichika, 1883, From the collection of: Los Angeles County Museum of Art
This piece features a geisha in a simple kimono, only highlighted by the ornament in her hair. She sits among a room amidst a tea ceremony. This work has a real life sense of depth and spaciousness to it thanks to the use of proportion. The artist gives it an appearance of seeing out the doorway and into what appears to be a garden. Yet the work still focuses nicely on the geisha at work.
Kitagawa Tsukimaro, Geisha, a pair of hanging scroll paintings, 1820/1829, From the collection of: British Museum
This silk hanging depicts two geisha relaxing outdoors. The front geisha has one foot up, leaving her geta on the ground in order to be more comfortable. The artist uses color and curved lines to give the geisha's kimono depth and direction. Her other foot sticks out with a brightly contrasted under robe. The other geisha is more of a background to this up front and more highlighted geisha.
Album of woodblock prints of women and geishas, Artist: Hirezaki Eiho, Publisher: Hakubunkan, 1914, From the collection of: Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
This simple print shows a geisha admiring a blossom that she plucked from the bush out her window. The artist uses a very blank background to give the emphasis to the geisha. The contrast of her white skin against the black of her hair and red garnish of her kimono helps to catch the eye and focus it on the geisha.
Dance, Hashimoto Meiji, 1966, From the collection of: Yamatane Museum of Art
This color on paper work uses dark, thick outlines to give emphasis to the geisha as she stands with her decorative fan. This work has a very flat look to it, using dull backgrounds to ensure the focus is on the geisha. The folds of her kimono, with the curved dark lines show a sense of depth and realness to the work.
Maiko with Cranes, HASHIMOTO Meiji, 1969, From the collection of: Shimane Art Museum
Another more modern work by this artist, only this one uses the complex details of the birds and color to make the geisha appear more dimensional. She appears to be kneeling and posing in her brightly contrasted kimono next to these large cranes. The bird behind her using the large open stance of the wings to give them the sense of being larger and more fierce in comparison.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not represent the views of the institutions whose collections include the featured works or of Google Arts & Culture.
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