Empress Gobele Wan Rong [c1920-1940] One of the sadder stories that arose from the end of the Qing monarchy was the story of Wan Rong, otherwise known as the Last Empress of China 婉容皇后. She was chosen at the age of 17 to marry a powerless monarch. This beautiful well educated girl from one of Manchuria's best families was to be turned into a wasted emotionally wrecked drug addict by her loveless marriage in 1922 to the last emperor of #China, PuYi 溥儀.
This is an Oiran, or "courtesan". She was actually a high ranking prostitute who cost more than other prostitutes. Notice her tall shoes! The young girls with her were sold by their families and are being trained in the art from a young age. Also, do not confuse Oiran with Geisha. A Geisha would go ballistic if that happened. Ca. 1905 - 1920.
Geisha 1910 - a maiko and her older sister sit for a photo. The maiko who is standing is making her debut, the two silver flutters are signal to that. Onesan means "older sister", they weren't actually sisters. The older one was a mentor to the younger apprentice and taught her everything she needded to know.
please keep in mind that you are looking at women who were sold to the brothels at ages 5 or 6. Once in the brothel, they were at first the "child labor" drudges doing cleaning and other chores, while also assisting the active prostitutes. They were gradually taught what they had to do, and generally started taking customers at puberty., Kanagawa Branch by Okinawa Soba, via Flickr. Circa 1895.