A few weeks ago I visited the exhibition Geisha in the Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde in Leiden. Geisha is a world-renowned style icon. The Japanese woman with the stark white face, red lips and precious kimono is an image that fascinates the world and stimulates the imagination. She is however also a stereotype of Japanese aesthetics, surrounded by mysticism and misunderstandings. The image of the geisha as a woman without virtue is false. The exhibition shows us the real story behind the phenomenon. Is it a profession or a calling? What does daily life look like for a Geisha, and what is the incentive to become a geisha? Through a unique partnership with a geisha house in Kyoto this exhibition offers an exclusive look into the world of Japanese elite culture.
Visitors are led through different spaces where you encounter precious kimonos, learn about the secret codes, and can watch video interviews with different geishas. We get to admire the paintings, obi and hair accessories, dressing tables, mirrors and musical instruments. But also Japanese souvenirs and pop culture that is inspired by the geisha.
The geisha is a source of inspiration for fashion designers, artists, photographers and writers worldwide. Early on, the geisha symbolized trendsetting haute couture, now we see her more as guardian of sophisticated cultural traditions and etiquette. An epitome of courtesy, control and beauty.The exhibition lasts until April 6, 2015.
photos taken with my iPhone