Important Cultural PropertyMaiko (apprentice geisha)

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  • By Kuroda Seiki
  • 1 piece
  • Oil on Canvas
  • 80.4x65.3
  • Meiji 26 (1893)
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • A-11258

A maiko (apprentice geisha) in a gorgeous kimono is sitting by the window. She is turning her face toward a girl running towards her, panting, perhaps for some errand. Outside the window is the cool water of the Kamo River. This painting is painted by Kuroda Seiki—one of the most prominent artists of Western painting in modern Japan—when he traveled to Kyoto in Meiji 26 (1893), soon after he came back from nine years of study in France. Seeing the streets and houses of the ancient capital and the sweet beauty of maiko after a long interval, Koroda expressed his amazement, saying "There is nothing like maiko in Gion-cho (Gion district in Kyoto) in the world. I found them truly beautiful." Kuroda Seiki's art, being bright and full of light, was a sensation for people in the Meiji era.