Kushite Geisha


Recently I encountered articles about ancient Roman coins being found in a Japanese castle, along with evidence of Persians visiting and even settling in Japan as far back as the 600-700s AD. It made me wonder whether other “westerners” might have ventured to the land of the rising sun during ancient times. So here’s a geisha who moved in from the kingdom of Kush (in the Nubian region of Sudan).

I was a bit uncertain how to color her face. Everyone recognizes the traditional Japanese geisha as having white face paint to represent an exaggeratedly pale complexion, but for obvious reasons painting an African woman’s face that color would have unfortunate colorist implications. In the end I decided on white eyeliner as a sort of compromise.

Incidentally, there was an African slave named Yasuke who became a samurai under Oda Nobunaga, but that happened centuries after Kush as a kingdom fell.


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