Geisha: A Unique World of Tradition, Elegance and Art

Geisha: A Unique World of Tradition, Elegance and Art

by John Gallagher, Wayne Reynolds
     
 

"Rises above many of its competitors, thanks to its ambitious scope...The book's photos and illustrations are frequently stunning....Gallagher's writing style is straightforward and articulate, with so much intelligence and grace, it's difficult not to be charmed."--Publishers Weekly

Take a fascinating peek into the geisha's world of tradition and

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Overview

"Rises above many of its competitors, thanks to its ambitious scope...The book's photos and illustrations are frequently stunning....Gallagher's writing style is straightforward and articulate, with so much intelligence and grace, it's difficult not to be charmed."--Publishers Weekly

Take a fascinating peek into the geisha's world of tradition and ritual with the help of a most unique book. Four see-through vellum sections, of four layers each, begin with a "naked" geisha; they show, stage by stage, how her distinctive costume and make-up are assembled. You'll view the subtle changes of appearance through the round of seasonal events, and the elaborate array of equipment in the geisha's wardrobe, as well as everything she needs to do her demanding jobs. Equally revealing is the incredibly detailed information about the women's training, lives, and history.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Gallagher's contribution to the geisha book niche rises above many of its competitors, thanks to its ambitious scope. The author, an Englishman who works as a translator in Japan, closely examines a tradition and way of life alien to most outside Japan and seems to leave nothing out, covering such topics as the perception of geishas by both Japanese and foreigners, geishas' artistic and musical talents, and the organizational structure of an okiya (geisha house). Of course, there's also much about the clothes and makeup. Geishas are constructed layer by layer, both figuratively and literally. Various levels of schooling teach them to be complex, articulate and unaffectedly sophisticated while they learn to put on their clothing and makeup in equally painstaking stages. Gallagher illustrates the latter with multiple see-through vellum sections detailing each stratum of ornament, clothing article and makeup, allowing readers to grasp the inordinate amount of attention that geishas must put into their appearance. The rest of the book's photos and illustrations are frequently stunning, combining historical images and artwork with vibrantly hued, more recent photos. Because of its heft and very visual style, Gallagher's work will likely find itself classified as a coffee-table book, but anyone who merely flips through will be missing out. Gallagher's writing style is straightforward and articulate, with so much intelligence and grace, it's difficult not to be charmed. (Dec.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Since the turn of the 19th century, the Western world has been fascinated by the image of geisha, the Japanese "flower and willow world." Biographies, fiction, nonfiction, theatrical works, photography, movies, and television shows continue to appear, trying to depict and understand this erotic and mysterious Japanese tradition. In this most recent full and detailed account on the topic, Gallagher, an Ireland-born writer and translator residing in Japan, provides a thorough coverage of geishas' training, attire, etiquette, crafts, social network, and their interplay with the changing Japanese society. Lavish illustrations with multiple vellum overlays reveal geishas' makeup, hairstyle, ornaments, and kimono costume. Also discussed are dance, the tea ceremony, and seasonal activities in hanamachi, or "flower town." This heavily illustrated book offers the reader a taste of the unique sensibility of leisure in Japanese culture. With useful references, a bibliography, Internet resources, a glossary, and an index, this is a worthy addition to the subject. Recommended for large collections in public and academic libraries.-Lucia S. Chen, NYPL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781856486972
Publisher:
Sterling
Publication date:
10/01/2003
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
11.58(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.06(d)

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