Looking at Tatsumi geisha’s kimono through “Snow in Fukagawa”

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Looking at Tatsumi geisha’s kimono through “Snow in Fukagawa”

Fukagawa no Yuki (深川の雪, “Snow in Fukagawa”) is one of the most well-known paintings that is able to provide a vivid image of what does Tatsumi geisha and their kimonos look like. This precious piece of art was painted by a Japanese ukiyo-e artist – Kitagawa Utamaro. It depicts a temporary geisha house in Fukagawa with the theme snow. Several styles and designs of kimono are carefully painted additionally with several gestures that highlight the beauty of kimono wearing.

Fukagawa no Yuki by Kitagawa Utamaro (1753 – 1806)

The theme color of the kimono in this painting tends to be of subdued colors such as indigo or brown. In contrast, geisha from other regions generally prefers a much brighter and flashy colors that make them become more attractive and stand out from the crowd.

Furthermore, Tatsumi geisha prided themselves on looking “natty”, showing their spirits by not wearing tabi -the Japanese traditional split-toe socks, walking inside the house with bare feet.

The influences can be explained by the masculine style and man-ish manner of the Tatsumi geisha which were considered as trendy at the time.

Sources: Higuchi, Kazutaka (2014). “Fukagawa no Yuki” 深川の雪. In Ōkubo, Jun’ichi. Nihon bijutsu zenshū 日本美術全集 [Japanese Art Complete Series].

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