Geisha and Samurai
exhibition in Náprstek MuseumLocation:
Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures, Betlémské nám. 1, Praha 1
Both geisha and samurai phenomena are introduced in more than 780 items displayed in the two ground halls of the Náprstek Museum. The great attention is paid to the Japanese sword blades which were restored in 2009 and to the unique collection of sword guards (510 pieces) that have never been completely exhibited within one exposition. Geishas´ life and culture is shown on their ornaments and daily utensils. Geishas dressed according to the latest fashion, and were educated in various arts. Their clients were usually important persons of political and public life, that´s why they knew how to speak about political themes and also were well acquainted with political background. Japanese words of geisha and samurai were adopted into the Czech language in the Czech transcription and still bring back atmosphere of the old Japan. Samurais whose swords, sword guards and other objects are shown in the first hallcan now only be seen in historical movies and TV soap operas, whereas geishas although in very reduced numbers still entertain important guests and stay a part of life in Japan. Class of samurais had very substantial influence on the Japanese society and culture for a very long period lasting almost 700 years (1185-1868). These wariors of two extremes were on one hand trained to kill but on the other hand to appreciate beauty of poems, flowers and philosophy. Unlike the long tradition of samurais, geishas started to entertain gentlemen as late as in the half of the 18th century. However the phenomenon of geisha achieved the same popularity abroad as that of samurai. The profession of geisha has been very often mixed with the profession of prostitutes. But geishas´ real task was to fullfil samurais´ romantic ideas, to entertain their company with witty conversation, songs and dances and to attend to the visitors of tea houses and restaurants in the pleasure districts.