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12 Gorgeous Color Photos Of Geisha In The Late 1800s

A glimpse at what is known as the geisha golden age — and the kimonos are absolutely striking.

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These photos would have been taken during what is generally known as the golden age of geisha.

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School of Yokohama/Alinari via Getty Images

The literal translation of the word "geisha" is closer to the term "artist." They've never been officially defined as prostitutes (and not all were sex workers), although that is the popular view that came to define them.

3.

Alinari/Alinari via Getty Images

This 1868 portrait shows off the obi — the sash portion of a kimono — which ties at back and can be styled in many different elaborate fashions.

10.

School of Yokohama/Alinari via Getty Images

Because their hairstyles could be so elaborate (and were meant to last for several days), geisha slept with head rests to keep their hair from touching anything.

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