So I am going to start off by acknowledging that Goze are not technically Geisha. They do however have two very important factors in common.
They are both women and they both make their living by entertaining men.
When I decided to broach the subject of Geisha in my series reflecting on Ukiyo-E, I did not want to do the same four or five poses and images of a half dressed beautiful woman looking over her shoulder that is prevalent in that space.
So I decided to draw a Goze instead. For those who do not know, a Goze is a blind woman who makes her living by playing music in public for tips. A Goze is basically a busker.
So I drew her sitting on the stoop of a business in a medieval Japanese town playing her Biwa.
You can find prints of this image or purchase the original at this page.
Today I am going to share two separate gouache paintings I have recently done.
They are also Buddhist and Japanese history pieces.
The first features Toyotomi Hideyoshi; samurai, daimyo, Shogun and second great unifier of Japan. The image is from early in his rise to power.
It is said that he greatly desired to have tea at the famous tea house of Sen no Rikyu, who was also known to have one of the most beautiful morning glory gardens in all of Japan.
At first Rikyu had rebuffed him. But knowing the samurai was growing impatient, Rikyu decided to have him.
Before the day of their tea, Rikyu dug up all of his magnolia gardens and selected only one. Placing it in a simple bamboo vase in the tea room.
When Hideyoshi arrived, he was enraged that the gardens were gone. He stomped into the tea house, and was stopped cold.
The single morning glory was perfect, and upon seeing it Hideyoshi saw Rikyu’s mind clearly and went on to become one of the great Shoguns in Japans history.
It is titled “Rikyu’s Morning Glory”
The second image is of Sen no Rikyu. He is the great tea master modern tea ceremony is based upon. He served two Shoguns as tea master and was of such great stature that he could have audience with anyone in Japan when he was alive.
The image is of him committing Seppuku on Hideyoshi’s order.
The reason is lost to history, but every version of it I have seen guessed at has been the result of ego and petty jealousy.