This geisha’s photo could have been printed on postcards or sold to a private client. She was taken by a professional studio photographer. Cyanotypes were an affordable way for photographers to test the density of their negatives, and were rarely preserved. But this beautiful picture was kept and chemically toned to a more neutral sapphire blue.
The final image would have been a more traditional black-and-white or sepia-toned print, probably hand-tinted with color.
Thanks to Beauty and the Bath for the use of this image.