Geisha; The Life, the Voices, the Art

( 2 )

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

In remarkable detail, and with the cooperation of geisha in Kyoto and Tokyo, this beautiful book captures the private world of the geisha, revealing her in her role as a human work of art--the perfect woman artistically, conversationally, and erotically. 95 color photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Cobb is a staff photographer at National Geographic and has been the recipient of numerous awards for her work. These photos provide an intimate portrayal of geishas in the modern world. An introduction by Ian Burham offers interpretation of Cobb's portraits, and Cobb's own well-researched essay sets the context. Photos are accompanied by brief quotes from the subjects about their lives, or poems and songs that convey the geisha experience. 11.5x10.5" Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375701801
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/1998
  • Edition description: 1 PBK ED
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 9.99 (w) x 11.08 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet 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.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2004

    geisha picture review

    beautil pictures but no explaintiom of the pictures thremsevles. infro alreadt explained in other texts, needs insight to what going on in the pics. more info about the pic should be more invovled and explained

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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