A maiko 舞妓 is an apprentice geisha in Kyoto and Western Japan. Their jobs consist of performing songs, dances, and playing the shamisen or other traditional Japanese instruments for visitors during banquets and parties, known as ozashiki. Maiko are usually aged between 17 to 20 years old and graduate to geisha status after a period of training, which includes learning to dance traditionally, play the shamisen, sing kouta ("short songs"), and, in Kyoto only, learn the Kyoto dialect. The apprenticeship usually ranges from a period of a few months to a year or two years, though apprentices too old to dress as maiko may instead skip to the stage of geisha, despite still being in training. Maiko are known by other terms in areas such as Toyko, such as hangyoku (半玉, "half jewel", referring to one euphemistic term for a geisha's wages, "jewel money"). The traditions of apprentice geisha in these areas vary from those in Kyoto, sometimes to a considerable degree, including appearance and apprenticeship structure.
Shown here is a complete set of Sadanobu Hasegawa III's "Kyo-Maiko" prints along with their original folio. The prints are as follows:
- Sadanobu Hasegawa III - Kyo-Maiko - Girl Playing Hanetsuki Game
- Sadanobu Hasegawa III - Kyo-Maiko - Flower Arrangement
- Sadanobu Hasegawa III - Kyo-Maiko - Girl Washing Hands
- Sadanobu Hasegawa III - Kyo-Maiko - Tea Ceremony
- Sadanobu Hasegawa III - Kyo-Maiko - Dancing Girl
- Sadanobu Hasegawa III - Kyo-Maiko - Girl Playing Hand-Drum
The Woodblock Prints Set
This is a complete set of the 6 woodblocks, in addition to the original silk folio with the index of prints. Each print is in very good condition with strong color, even toning to the paper, and no discolorations. They were carefully removed from their original matting presentations as that paper was not acid free, so there might be some small bits of tape residue as a result. The folio is intact, but not in good shape, with the folding part of the folio in rough shape from wear; it is being included to keep the collection intact.
About the Artist
Sadanobu Hasegawa III (1881-1963) is the third in a long line of Japanese printmakers, following his father and grandfather into the profession. Born in Osaka as the son of Sadanobu II, he was the student of Shijo painter Ueda Kocho, and later the student of Utagawa Sadamasu, becoming a member of the Osaka School. Most of the woodblock prints by Sadanobu Hasegawa III were made after World War II.
Sadanobu Hasegawa III worked to adopt the art of Japanese printmaking to the 20th century. Most of his work was commissioned by the Uchida company in Kyoto, one of the largest publishers of woodblock prints in Japan at the time. His technique followed the old Japanese tradition of hand making all of the blocks, while occasionally adding more modern features to some of his prints like embossing of metal pigments.
Sadanobu Hasegawa III adopted a style which was a combination of old okiyo-e traditions with a modern approach. His subjects included the traditional focuses of ukiyo-e tradition such as kabuki theater, the bunraku puppet theater, beautiful girls from Kyoto, as well as scenes and events from Japan's medieval history and legends. His work primarily catered to the foreign market, and his selections of colors and subjects almost portrayed a Disneyland image of Japan.