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Shadow puppet made of semi-transparent animal skin and a watery paint or dye, soaked into the skin. The puppet arm, body, legs and hat are separate pieces, tied together with a thin plastic cord through small holes. The figure is a male, wearing blue short pants, with a red and orange tunic, hat and shoes. The hat is made as a removable piece, but is attached in place with a plastic tie. His one hand is under his chin; his other arm is articulated in two places so its position can be manipulated (hold for stick in lower arm). He has a black beard and mustache. The main hole for the stick (to manipulate the puppet) is in his upper chest area. The maker's name is written along the back of one leg.

History Of Use

Shadow puppet character, from the Turkish shadow play known as "Karagöz & Hacivat". The play dates back to the Ottoman Empire (c. 1299-1923). It follows the escapades and fights of the two central characters from whom it takes its name. These friends are opposites in many ways: Karagöz (Black Eye) is illiterate and coarse, but well-intentioned, and very funny. Whereas Hacivat is pretentious and conceited, well-spoken and amusing. The plays are full of wit and satire and social and ethnic stereotypes as well as supernatural characters, such as monsters and magicians. Karagöz shadow puppetry was inscribed on UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009.

Iconographic Meaning

The puppet represents the central character, Karagöz (Black Eye).

Item History

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