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Lina Cavalieri (1874-1944) Italian operatic soprano and diseuse. [t.o.t.c. edit: S.I.P. postcard, photo by Reutlinger] from shhme

Out of the thousands of geisha postcards circulated between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a great many depict the "hear, see, speak no evil" theme. While it is certainly a sexist allusion to gossiping and chit-chat, it also happens to go to the core of the geisha mystique. Or so it was back in the 1910s.

fantastic camera girl by unexpectedtales, via Flickr

Miss Lily Elsie in The Merry Widow Rotary 4827 L postcard