Rare View

"Rare View" - coloured pencil drawing.

“Rare View” – coloured pencil drawing.  345 x 480 mm. 2013


“Rare View” is the first drawing I have finished since I returned from overseas.  Why the title?  If English is not your first language, let me explain that I am playing with words.  This IS a rare view because one does not often see a Maiko holding hands with a little girl.  In fact I have never seen such a sight before.  If you say “Rare View” aloud, it sounds a lot like ‘rear view’ which means seeing something or someone from behind…as we are indeed viewing our subjects.

The circumstance of this scene is as follows:- I had been to the 61st Kitano Odori which is the annual spring dance performed by the Maiko and Geiko of Kamishichiken (an area of Kyoto).  After the concert I saw Satohana, one of the Maiko performers, waiting outside the theatre.  An excited family group came out of the theatre to join her.  After greetings, laughter and photos, Satohana and the little girl from the group walked off together hand-in-hand.  (Perhaps the child is Satohana’s little sister.)  I took a photo, knowing instantly that I would make a drawing of it.

There is rather a lot of grey outside the theatre!  Behind the high walls to the right is the most beautiful Japanese garden complete with a koi-filled lake.  This garden, in the grounds of the theatre, may be admired before the concert and again at intermission (enjoyed with tea and cake).  I can promise you it is there even though you’ll have to trust me (unless you have been there yourself).

A thought which occurs to me when I look at this drawing is that this could be a metaphor for  life.  The little girl walks beside a young lady while ahead is a mature lady who is further along the path (of life) than those behind her. Both the young lady and the older lady were once the child…and the child will one day be each of them.  We cannot see what is around the corner but we know that the older lady will turn down the path to whatever-it-is before the other two.  It is inevitable.

Now, let me type out what is written in the official programme of 61st Kitano Odori.  It says “Kamishichiken is the oldest and most distinguished gay quarters in Kyoto.  The training of Geiko is given with the idea of producing a few excellent rather than large number of mediocre entertainers.  Therefore they are required to master many entertaining arts including shamisen, hand drum, dancing and traditional ditties and ballads such as kiyomoto, tokiwazu, kouta and nagauta.  The results of such severe training are demonstrated at Kitano Odori to an audience, who enjoy watching traditional performing arts refined to an almost perfect level.  The stage where such arts are performed might be referred to as the highest reach of an aesthetic quality peculiar to Japan.”

I would have loved to have brought you photos from the performance but, as is usual in concerts, photography is not permitted.  Satohana was one of the gorgeous dancers and the lady in black was one of the musicians.  The little girl was in the audience.

Related page:  Subject 2: Geisha

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