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  • Writer's pictureBecky Fifield

The Geisha Toye as a Vendor of Poems

This woodblock print in the Metropolitan Museum of Art depicts The Geisha Toye as a Vendor of Poems, and dates to c. 1795. Geisha were the purveyors of iki, a kind of dark artistic cool. Gei means art and officially, the artistic roles geisha filled were that of dancers and musicians, as well as being known as incredible conversationalists. Depicting herself as a poem vendor fashions Toye as a conjurer of visions and beauty through words. The literary theme carries over to the characters painted on her kimono.

The Geisha Toye as a Vendor of Poems. JP 1390, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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