Daughters of the Sun

Daughters of the Sun by Mortimer Menpes. 1901. Watercolor. Source: Japan: A Record in Colour, facing p. 126. The chapter on "The Geisha" depicts its subject as a young woman whose raison d’être "is to be decorative. She delights in her own delightsomeness; she wants frankly to be as charming as nature and art will allow; she wants to be beautiful; and she honestly and assuredly wants me and you and the stranger artists to think her beautiful. She wants to please you, and she openly sets about pleasing" (125). More than that, "The geisha is the educated woman of Japan. She is the entertainer, the hostess; she is highly educated, and has a great appreciation of art; she is also proficient in the art of conversation.... Nothing can be too brilliant for the geisha; she is the life and soul of Japan, the merry sparkling side of Japanese life" (127). Menpes is full of admiration for the geisha and feels that the idea in the West, that she is simply "a silly giggling little girl with fan"(128), needs to be corrected!— Jacqueline Banerjee

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Related Material


Menpes, Dorothy. Japan: A Record in Colour. London: Adam & Charles Black, 1901. Internet Archive version of a copy in the University of California Libraries. Web. 3 July 2019.

Created 30 June 2019