기생 (Gisaeng) or Kisaeng, also called as 기녀 (ginyeo), were Korean female entertainers or sometimes prostitutes. They are mostly considered as the Korean counterpart of Japanese geishas.
Kisaeng were artists mostly hired for the royal court but were spread throughout the country. Kisaeng write poems, play music, and also dance. They received intense training during their childhood from which they possibly inherited from their mother, or sold from a poor family. Despite their service, they had inferior status in the society.
One of the most popular Kisaengs is 황진이 (Hwang Jin Yi), known for her talent, wit, and exceptional beauty.
NOTE: Images are from random sources available through Google Images.