Photographer's Note

Traditional Greek shadow theater exhibition at Heraklion, Crete.

Karagiozis ( Greek Καραγκιόζης ) is the main character of the tales narrated in the Greek shadow-puppet theater. Shadow theater, with a single puppeteer creating voices for a dialogue, narrating a story, and possibly even singing while manipulating puppets, appears to come ultimately from the Indonesian Wayang Kulit.
Karagiozis is the Hellenized version of the Turkish shadow play Karagoz and Hacivat. Its seems to have come to mainland Greece, probably from Asia Minor (Anatolia) in the 19th century, during Ottoman rule.

Karagiozis is a poor hunchbacked Greek, his right hand is always depicted long, his clothes are ragged and patched, and his feet are always bare. He lives in a poor cottage with his wife Aglaia and his three boys, during the times of the Ottoman Empire. The scene is occupied by his cottage in the left, and the Sultan's Palace (Sarayi) on the far right. Because of his poverty, Karagiozis uses mischievous and crude ways to find money and feed his family. There are three types of Karagiozi plays, including comedies inspired by every day life, those influenced by fairy tales and traditional folklore and heroic themes inspired by the years of the oppressive Ottoman rule followed by the Greek War of independence in 1821.

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2009 Jordan Kevrekidis

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