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Gisaeng-in-Training?

Korean "Geisha" Girls

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Undated photo of Korean girls, probably early 20th century

Seven girls training to be gisaeng, or Korean geishas.

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs, Frank and Francis Carpenter Collection

This photograph was labeled "Geisha Girls" - so these girls probably are training to be gisaeng, the Korean equivalent of Japanese geisha. They seem quite young; normally, girls began training around the age of 8 or 9, and retired by their mid-twenties.

Technically, gisaeng belonged to the slave class of Korean society. Nonetheless, those with exceptional talent as poets, musicians or dancers often acquired wealthy patrons, and lived very comfortable lives. They were also known as the "Flowers that Write Poetry."

Click here for a gallery of Japanese geisha images.

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