The Lives of Geishas and Ladies


By Susan Maxwell Schmidt, hair jewelry artist extraordinaire and owner and creator of Longlocks Hair Sticks, for me the best modern hair jewelry artist on the market.

She wrote, “I am a self-described “geisha expert.”  Geishas were NEVER prostitutes. NEVER. During the world wars there were women who CLAIMED to soldiers to be geishas who were prostitutes, but true geishas.. NEVER.

Geishas must be practiced in all the arts to the level of perfection, and spend several years as maikos learning the intricacies of music (both instruments and vocals), dance and conversation.

Also, while some women in the past were forced bytheir families to become geishas, being a geisha has ALWAYS been a *great* honor, and those who still practice the art are held in the same esteem as the most famous and accomplished movie stars are here… and are even more inaccessible by the “common man.”

You cannot be entertained by geisha unless you have reached a level high enough to be invited to enjoy their company, no matter who you are.

Oh, and most Asian communities do not think it is suitable to smile in photographs, even today. I sponsor a little girl in Thailand and I don’t have one photograph of her smiling because they consider photographs to be such a “special event” that it would be unheard of to appear any way but with the utmost propriety.”

These photographs were taken in 1890. You may refer to auctions #260077851984 and 260077841975.






For the Italian ladies, who knows if their marriages were arranged to older men by their parents for financial or political reasons, which means they had to sleep with men who might have repulsed them, too. We will never know the pain behind the pearls.

This is a portrait by Lavinia Fontana, 1552-1614. The lady is wearing a sumptuous yellow silk dress, lace collar, pearl necklace, and pearls in her hair.



This portrait of a lady is from the Neopolitan School in the early 18th Century. The lady is believed to be Francesca Gornia, wife of Francesco del Veglia. She is wearing a red embroidered dress with a beautiful red ribbon in her hair.

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