Geisha: The Life, the Voices, the Art

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9780375701801: Geisha: The Life, the Voices, the Art

Here, brought vividly to life, is an icon of Japanese culture and custom—the geisha in her role as human work of art and perfect woman.

A hundred years ago geisha numbered eighty thousand; today there are a thousand at most. Happily, Jodi Cobb is able to show us—before they vanish—both the ceremonial world of the geisha in Tokyo and Kyoto and their private world as few outsiders have ever seen it.

Many of the older women we meet here were forced into this world by hardship; the young women were drawn to it by their dream of a
romantic life or their love of traditional arts. We see geisha in their daytime routines: fine-tuning their breathtakingly lavish wardrobes; perfecting the art of makeup; training maikos (apprentices); and preparing for annual dance performances.

But as we watch the geisha at night, as they entertain (for huge sums) at private parties, their art takes a different form. Their purpose is to provide a dream—of luxury, romance and exclusivity. As the men sit at dinner, geisha position themselves at their elbows to serve them sake and delicacies and practice a brilliantly honed art of conversation. As the alcohol flows and the guests relax, geisha play party tricks and sing songs. Geisha have for centuries studied the male ego. They tend it like a garden—and we watch men bloom.

This long-hidden world is revealed here both in superlative photographs and in a fascinating text that includes the voices of the geisha themselves. These women have created a life of beauty, making themselves an embodiment of Japanese culture, tradition and refinement—a life that is captured exquisitely in this remarkable book.

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About the Author:

Jodi Cobb is a staff photographer at National Geographic who has produced more than twenty articles for the magazine. Her work has appeared in many books, including several in the A Day in the Life of . . . series. She was the first woman named White House Photographer of the Year and has been the recipient of numerous awards from the National Press Photographers Association. Ms. Cobb's photographs have been exhibited at the International Center of Photography and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. She lives in Washington, D.C.

From Booklist:

The fabled world of the geisha is one few Westerners know anything about. Cobb, whose prose is as pristine as her photographs, was able to enter this secretive, sensual, and artful realm and learn the truth about the lives of the ever-dwindling community of traditional geishas. Cobb summarizes their curious history and their hallowed place in Japan's hierarchical society, describes their training, and relates life stories of individuals, tales full of heartbreak and stoicism, pride and nobility. Geishas are both artists and living works of art, professional performers who transform themselves into embodiments of a timeless, anonymous, and emblematic beauty. With their stark white faces and carefully exposed necks, sculptured black hair, and brilliant red lips, eyebrows, and eyelids, these poised and elegant women transcend the everyday, offering their clients the opportunity to live a fantasy and providing themselves with a sustaining way of life in a culture that offers women few options beyond marriage. Cobb's elegant study is both striking and haunting. Donna Seaman

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Descrizione libro Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Paperback. Here, brought vividly to life, is an icon of Japanese culture and custom--the geisha in her role as human work of art and perfect woman.A hundred years ago geisha numbered eighty thousand;.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 128 pages. 0.667. Codice libro della libreria 9780375701801

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Descrizione libro Knopf Publishing Group October 1998, 1998. Trade Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Here, brought vividly to life, is an icon of Japanese culture and custom--the geisha in her role as human work of art and perfect woman.A hundred years ago geisha numbered eighty thousand; today there are a thousand at most. Happily, Jodi Cobb is able to show us--before they vanish--both the ceremonial world of the geisha in Tokyo and Kyoto and their private world as few outsiders have ever seen it.Many of the older women we meet here were forced into this world by hardship; the young women were drawn to it by their dream of aromantic life or their love of traditional arts. We see geisha in their daytime routines: fine-tuning their breathtakingly lavish wardrobes; perfecting the art of makeup; training maikos (apprentices); and preparing for annual dance performances.But as we watch the geisha at night, as they entertain (for huge sums) at private parties, their art takes a different form. Their purpose is to provide a dream--of luxury, romance and exclusivity. As the men sit at dinner, geisha position themselves at their elbows to serve them sake and delicacies and practice a brilliantly honed art of conversation. As the alcohol flows and the guests relax, geisha play party tricks and sing songs. Geisha have for centuries studied the male ego. They tend it like a garden--and we watch men bloom.This long-hidden world is revealed here both in superlative photographs and in a fascinating text that includes the voices of the geisha themselves. These women have created a life of beauty, making themselves an embodiment of Japanese culture, tradition and refinement--a life that is captured exquisitely in this remarkable book. 'Jodi Cobb's exquisite photographs, in revealing the beautiful along with the everyday, usher us into the many-faceted world of the modern geisha'.--Arthur Golden, author of 'Memoirs of a Geisha'. 77 color photos. Codice libro della libreria 165444

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