Unit 7

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Geisha or geigi are traditional female Japanese entertainers. They are skilled at different Japanese arts, like playing classical Japanese musicdancing and poetryApprentice geisha are called "maiko" . This name is made of the Japanese words  (mai) meaning "dancing" and  (ko) meaning "child". Maiko wear white make-up and kimono of many bright colors. Full geisha wear simpler kimonos, and only use white make-up at special times. Modern geisha still live in traditional geisha houses called "okiya" ("geisha house") in neighborhoods named "hanamachi" ("flower towns"). However, most older geisha who are successful have their own home.

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Geisha

Geisha compared to Maiko are less flamboyant. The kimono of the Geisha is usually of a subtle single colour with a design sweeping up from the hem, based on scenes of nature or traditional Japanese themes, in accordance with the seasons. Similarly the obi of the Geisha is more subtle and often a single colour brocade with minimalist obi belts and brooches.

Day to day the hairstyle of the Geisha is a relatively simple bun, however intricate wigs are worn for formal occasions and dance recitals. Similarly for Maiko, the most formal attire of the Geisha is full white makeup with a "5 crest" (kuro tomesode) kimono, which is a black kimono with crests (kamon of the owners family or Okiya) on the front and back of each sleeve and one in the centre of the back below the collar. Geisha wear white collars on their under kimono which is a sign of maturity.

Rather than the tall Okobo of the Maiko, Geisha wear flat lacquered Zohri, with or without Tabi (buttoned socks). The wearing of Zohri and Okobo without Tabi was a fashion started in the hey day of the Geisha world and is considered a very "iki" fashion.

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Memoirs of a Geisha is a 2005 American epic film adaptation of the novel of the same name, produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment and Spyglass Entertainment and by Douglas Wick's Red Wagon Productions. The picture was directed by Rob Marshall and was released in the United States on December 9, 2005 by Columbia Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures. It stars Zhang Ziyi, Ken Watanabe, Gong Li,Michelle Yeoh, Youki Kudoh, and Suzuka Ohgo. Memoirs of a Geisha tells the story of a young girl, Chiyo Sakamoto, who is sold to an okiya, a geisha house by her family. Her new family then sends her off to school to become a geisha. This movie is mainly about older Chiyo and her struggle as a geisha to find love, in the process making a lot of enemies. The film was nominated for and won numerous awards, including nominations for six Academy Awards, and eventually won three: Best CinematographyBest Art Direction and Best Costume Design.

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Madonna - Nothing Really Matters (music videos) 

The music video of the song was directed by Johan Renck and was inspired by the book Memoirs of a Geisha, with Madonna depicted as a geisha. The costumes, which were designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier were also used in her Drowned World Tour.

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Chinese ancient officers also show their status by costume and accessories.

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Sadie Williams

I can get inspiration from Sadie Williams's fashion work to make my costume into flat.

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Empress Dowager Cixi, of the Manchu Yehenara clan, was a powerful and charismatic woman who unofficially but effectively controlled the Manchu Qing dynasty in China for 47 years, from 1861 to her death in 1908. Selected as an imperial concubine for the Xianfeng Emperor in her adolescence, she gave birth to a son, in 1856. With Xianfeng's death in 1861 the young boy became the Tongzhi Emperor and she became Empress Dowager. I chose her as the main character in this project, because of  the unusual situation of a female empress being in control, having authority over the whole empire.

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Reign Behind A Curtain

In November 1861, a few days following the coup, Cixi was quick to reward Yixin, the Prince Gong, for his help. He was made head of the General Affairs Office and the Internal Affairs Office, and his daughter was made a Gurun Princess, a title usually bestowed only on the Empress's first-born daughter. Yixin's allowance also increased twofold. However, Cixi avoided giving Yixin the absolute political power that princes such as Dorgon exercised during the Shunzhi Emperor's reign. As one of the first acts from behind the curtains, Cixi (nominally along with Ci'an) issued two important Imperial Edicts on behalf of the Emperor. The first stated that the two Empresses Dowager were to be the sole decision makers "without interference," and the second changed the boy Emperor's era name from Qixiang ("Auspicious") to Tongzhi ("collective stable").

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The Tongzhi Emperor (27 April 1856 – 12 January 1875), born Zaichun of the Manchu Aisin Gioro clan, was the tenth emperor of the Qing Dynasty, and the eighth Qing emperor to rule over China. His reign, from 1861 to 1875, which effectively lasted through his adolescence, was largely overshadowed by the rule of his mother Empress Dowager Cixi. Although he had little influence over state affairs, the events of his reign gave rise to what historians call the "Tongzhi Restoration", an unsuccessful attempt to stabilise and modernise China.

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Ximena Garnica: Heres a resume for you: actress, dancer, choreographer, and directorborn in Bogota, Columbia, trained in New York and Tokyo, based in Williamsburg, and now a leading proponent of the modern Japanese dance form, Butoh. I might use puppets to tell the story of Reign Behind A Curtain through dancing. By researching Ximena Garnica's performance, I can know more about how to create the dance and show the story through dancing.

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Susan Benson was born in Kent, England. She trained as a painter in the UK before emigrating to Canada. Over the years her work as a painter has been interwoven with design for the theatre, ballet and opera. As designer she worked with distinguished directors and companies in some of the world’s great houses. Her costume- and set-designs are instantly recognizable for authenticity, imagination, craftsmanship and an artist’s attention to subtlety of line and colour. Her work has been repeatedly recognized in awards and in inclusion in public collections.

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Maiko

Maiko are easily recognised by their attire. In the Japanese way, as young girls before they become women, the dress of the Maiko is more outlandish than that of the mature Geisha. The Obi and Kimono of a Maiko is brightly coloured and ornately decorated, the Kimono is of the Furisode style (more specifically of the oburisode type kimono) with long flapping sleeves that fall to the floor. The collar of the under-kimono worn by the Maiko is usually of a red and white patterned material, and shows vividly against the white neck of the Maiko. This makes the "changing of the collar" ceremony (from patterned to plain white) the coming of age ceremony when a Maiko becomes a Geiko rather obvious.

The Obi of a Maiko is also much longer, and tied in an ornate style rather than the box knots common in the Obi of both Geisha and other Japanese women. The Obi is tied much higher on a Maiko, coming high into the arm pit, with the knot reaching almost to the collar, with the ends falling to the floor. Maiko also wear distinctive Okobo, large platformed wooden shoes, which taper to a smaller point on the sole, these are often lacquered and ornate. Okobo usually force a young Maiko to take very small steps, which is considered attractive by Japanese tradition.

Maiko have several different hair styles, which indicate the period of their apprenticeship that they have currently reached. Maiko use their own hair for such displays, rather than the wigs that contemporary Geisha wear. Traditionally it is a sign of a productive and hard apprenticeships to have a small bald patch from the ornate hair styles but as apprenticeships grow shorter and wigs more common this is a fading sign of a retired Geisha. The hair ornaments for a Maiko are plentiful and extravagant and are matched to the current season, usually displaying a fall of seasonal flowers constructed from beads.


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Training

Traditionally, geisha began their training at a very young age. Although some girls were sold to become geisha as children, this was not normal practice in hanamachi with good reputation. Daughters of geisha were often educated as geisha themselves.

The first part of training is called "shikomi". In the past, when girls first arrived at the okiya (tea house), they were put to work as maids, or do everything they were told. The work was difficult, to "make" and "break" the new girls. The most junior shikomi of the house had to wait late into the night for the seniorgeisha to return from work, sometimes as late as two or three in the morning. During this stage of training, the shikomi went to classes at the hanamachi's geisha school. In modern times, this stage still exists, but it is not as hard as it was in the past. Now, shikomis become used to the traditions and dress of the"karyūkai" ("flower and willow world").

When the apprentice became skilled in the geisha arts, and passed a final and difficult dance test, she was promoted to the second stage of training: "minarai". Minarai did not do the housework anymore. This stage also exists today, but is much shorter than in the past (only a month). The minarai learn in the field. They go to banquets and dance with the geishas, but they do not participate: they just sit, watch and learn from their onee-san (older sisters). Their kimono are more elaborate than even a maiko's, to do the talking for them.

After a short time, the third (and most famous) stage of training begins, called "maiko". Maiko are apprentice geisha, and this stage can last for years. Maiko learn from their senior geisha and follow them around to every presentation she does. The "onee-san/imoto-san" ("older sister/younger sister") relationship is very important. The onee-san teaches her maiko everything about working in the hanamachi. She will teach her the right ways of serving tea, playing the shamisen, and dancing, and everything about the art of Iki (see below). Maikos have to wear heavy white make-up, elaborate hairstyle, and have her lips painted almost all the time. Their kimonos and obi have more vibrant colors and richer embroidery than those of full geisha. Like the minarai, maikos do not charge as much money to go to parties or gatherings as a full geisha.

After a period of only six months (in Tokyo) or five years (in Kyoto), the maiko is promoted to a full geisha and charges full price for her time. Geisha use kimono of less colors and only use make-up for work or dance, because she is more mature than a maiko, and the simpler style shows her ownnatural beauty. Geisha remain as such until they retire.

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Gary Card

I have design the costume into flat. In Gary Card's works, he has used cardboard to make costume and set, which I can get inspiration to develop my design ideas.

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Shona Heath

I have got inspiration from Shona Heath's work to experiment with dioramas. I intend to make a small set by using cardboard or thin wood.

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These miniatures are made by  Ken Haseltine. She has used wood to make the set, and it shows better quality than carboard which I have used to experiment. I might also used wood to make the sets instead of cardboard.

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Set design by Frank Gehry. I have tried to used paper to make costumes, I can also used paper to make set.

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Text box

Richard Finkelstein has been a designer of scenery, Lighting, and Projections. He has designed new plays for such writers as: John Pielmeier, Hugh Wheeler, and Adrienne Kennedy. His production of Peter Pan, designed for the New York State Theatre Institute toured to Russia in 1989. He also designed the New York and Off-Broadway premiere of Jeffery Sweet's American Enterprise, and the Off-Broadway premiere of the new musical, Orphan Train,which was also presented at Grand Central Terminal as part of its 1913, 100th Anniversary Celebration. He has used numerous lighting on the stage. I have experiment with lights, I can learn more skills of lighting from  Richard Finkelstein's works.

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Shadow Puppet

Before the arrival of cinema, television and the internet, shadow puppet was the “it” entertainment in China.  The puppet is placed next to the screen (a 1 sq m treated muslin)  with lighting from behind.  Like the theater, the puppet casts include the hero, heroine, masculine, villain and of course the clown.  Each puppet is controlled with 5 bamboo stick; the puppeteer is responsible for the control 4 puppets, singing, narration, dialogue and drums.  The shadow puppet is usually made of  donkey skin which give a more transparent effect. I have done experiment of making a shadow puppet and play it behind a screen. I might develop it and make it into a part of my final outcomes.

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