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  • Writer's pictureRobin Yong

YukiYanagi 珍珠繡線菊 (雪柳)

A portrait for the very beautiful geiko Tomitae.

This is one of the most famous and popular geishas of all time .

She's been a geisha for about 10 years now, and I have known her for about 8 years, photographing her each time I come to Kyoto.

Ever so elegant and enchanting, she turns heads wherever she goes.

Tomitae always enjoys the finest things in life and has high expectations of food and fashion.

This time, she's wearing a coral coloured kimono with YukiYanagi (Snow Willow Flower ) motifs.

The YukiYanagi has been described as snowflakes turning into flowers, a beautiful sight flying in the garden...bunches of graceful snow willows, like a string of snowflakes flying in the sky. Snow willow blooms in spring and fruits in autumn. The flower symbolises uniqueness, abundant harvest and good fortune.

The portrait was actually taken in late December, when most trees around Kyoto have already shed their leaves. But just outside my ancestral temple, the Goddess has once again blessed us with a beautiful garden scene filled with rich red and orange maple leaves on a gentle afternoon. Tomitae exclaimed with excitement when she saw the sight. She knows the color of her kimono matches nicely with the surroundings and quickly asked to see the photos at the back of my camera whilst we were back in the car. Snow willow against the autumn reds, never have I expected this combination of elements. This will make another fine art print, one that will likely grace the walls inside Tomitae's apartment...

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