The profession of geisha was not officially recognized until the late 18th century. A geisha is a woman who dedicates her life to the traditional Japanese arts and entertains guests at banquets and performances. Geishas generally have to master several types of arts, including traditional Japanese dancing (including fanning), singing, literature, poetry, flower arranging, and playing traditional instruments. In addition to entertaining through the arts, a geisha must also be skilled in the art of conversation and have a broad general knowledge of the art. Geishas have always embodied the highest level of sophistication and are undoubtedly the bearers of Japanese culture and tradition.