Karagiozis

Karagiozis

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Karagiozis or Karaghiozis (origin: Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

: Karagöz - literal meaning:dark eye; Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

: Καραγκιόζης) is a shadow puppet and fictional character
Fictional character
A character is the representation of a person in a narrative work of art . Derived from the ancient Greek word kharaktêr , the earliest use in English, in this sense, dates from the Restoration, although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones in 1749. From this, the sense of...

 of Greek and Turkish folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

. He is the main character of the tales narrated in the Turkish and Greek shadow-puppet theatre.

Origins



Shadow theatre, 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 Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

n wayang kulit or Chinese pi ying xi Shadow play
Shadow play
Shadow play or shadow puppetry Shadow puppets have a long history in China, India, Turkey and Java, and as a popular form of entertainment for both children and adults in many countries around the world. A shadow puppet is a cut-out figure held between a source of light and a translucent screen...

.

There are several stories of how shadow theater was established in Asia Minor. Some believe the Turks were influenced by the Gypsies who came from India, while others claim that they were influenced by the Chinese at the time when the Turks were still nomadic tribes, still others argue for a Mediterranean origin in the Egyptian shadow puppet tradition. Whatever the case, it is worthwhile to mention that regardless of religious restrictions, shadow theater became more widespread around the 16th century among the Muslim Turks.

Originally, his popular appeal was his scatological language and protruding phallus. It is still performed in Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, especially during Ramadan
Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and...

 celebrations, under the same name.

Karagiozis seems to have come to mainland Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, probably from Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 (Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

) at the 19th century, during Ottoman rule. Karagiozis was hellenized in Patras
Patras
Patras , ) is Greece's third largest urban area and the regional capital of West Greece, located in northern Peloponnese, 215 kilometers west of Athens...

, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 in the end of 19th century by Dimitrios Sardounis alias Mimaros, who is considered the founder of modern Greek shadow theater.

The genre became a fully integrated, though adapted, amongst the Greek population. But there are several legends as well as studies surrounding Karagiozis's arrival and subsequent popularity in Greece. Some stories say that Greek merchants brought the art from China and others say that it was a Greek who created the "legend" during Ottoman rule for the entertainment of the sultan. Yet others believe that it originated from real events involving two masonry workers named Karagöz and Haci Ivat
Karagöz and Hacivat
Karagöz and Hacivat are the lead characters of the traditional Turkish shadow play, popularized during the Ottoman period. The central theme of the plays are the contrasting interaction between the two main characters...

 working in the construction of a mosque in the city of Bursa, Turkey in early 14th century.

Scenario


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
Cottage
__toc__In modern usage, a cottage is usually a modest, often cozy dwelling, typically in a rural or semi-rural location. However there are cottage-style dwellings in cities, and in places such as Canada the term exists with no connotations of size at all...

 (Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

: παράγκα) with his wife Aglaia and his three sons, during the times of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. 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
Trickster
In mythology, and in the study of folklore and religion, a trickster is a god, goddess, spirit, man, woman, or anthropomorphic animal who plays tricks or otherwise disobeys normal rules and conventional behavior. It is suggested by Hansen that the term "Trickster" was probably first used in this...

 to find money and feed his family.

Students of folklore divide Karagiozis' tales in two major categories: the 'Heroics' and the 'Comedies'. The Heroics are tales based on tradition or real stories involving the times under Ottoman rule, and Karagiozis is presented as a helper and assistant of an important hero.

Puppeteers devise their own original tales, however there are many 'traditional' tales that have descended orally from earlier puppeteers and are accepted as 'canon' with slight alterations between the players. Most of them are formulaic and have the following layout (but with a wide improvisional variety), and often involving interaction with the audience:
  1. Karagiozis appears in the scene with his 3 sons dancing and singing. He welcomes the audience and has a comical dialogue with his children. He then enters his cottage
  2. The Vizier or a local Ottoman lord reports that he has a problem and needs someone to perform a deed
  3. Hadjiavatis obeys and starts announcing the news (usually a singing sequence) until Karagiozis hears about it
  4. Initially annoyed by Hadjiavatis' shouting, he finds it's an opportunity to gain money (either by helping the Vizier or not) and sometimes asks Hadjiavatis to aid him.
  5. Karagiozis either attempts to help the Vizier or fool him. The regular characters (see below) appear one at a time in the scene (they often appear with an introducing song which is standard for each of them); Karagiozis has a funny dialogue with them, mocks them, fools them, or becomes annoyed and ousts them violently.
  6. Finally, Karagiozis is either rewarded by the Vizier or his mischief is revealed and he's punished - usually by the Vizier's bodyguard, Veligekas.


Some of the most known tales are:
  • Alexander the Great and the accursed snake
  • Karagiozis the doctor
  • Karagiozis the cook
  • Karagiozis the senator
  • Karagiozis the scholar
  • Karagiozis the prophet
  • Karagiozis the fisherman
  • Karagiozis and the gorilla
  • Karagiozis and the ghost

The characters

  • Karagiozis, is a trickster
    Trickster
    In mythology, and in the study of folklore and religion, a trickster is a god, goddess, spirit, man, woman, or anthropomorphic animal who plays tricks or otherwise disobeys normal rules and conventional behavior. It is suggested by Hansen that the term "Trickster" was probably first used in this...

     poor Greek man whose sole interest is sleep and eating. Socially, he is in closer relation to Hadji Ivat (Greek: Hadjiavatis) than any other characters, and often he is informed by him, sometimes they cooperate in business, but sometimes Hadjiavatis is a victim of Karagiozis' tricks.
  • Kollitiria (Κολλητήρια), Karagiozis' three kids. Some versions give their names as Kollitiri, Kopritis and Bitsikokos.
  • Aglaia, (Αγλαΐα) Karagiozis' wife, who is usually unseen but whose characteristically nagging voice is heard to be coming from inside Karagiozis's house.
  • Hadjiavatis (Χατζηαβάτης), (the Turkish counterpart is Hacivat) he is Karagiozis' friend and sidekick, an honest and serious figure but often ends up being wrapped up in Karagiozis' schemes. He has a tendency to flatter the powerful and his name in Greece is associated with the "eternally compliant person towards the occupying and dominant establishment".
  • Barba Yorgos (Μπάρμπα Γιώργος, "Uncle George"), he represents the man from the mountains, uncontaminated by urban trends; he is usually on some business related visit in the lowlands, he is a Vlach from Rumeli, always depicted broad built with traditional outfit, is crude and very strong. Even though he believes his nephew to be a "lupodit's" (crook pronounced in the Roumeliot fashion), he helps him out and beats all the opponents black and blue with his staff.
  • Stavrakas (Σταύρακας), whose puppet is the only one with a long independent arm, like Karagiozis. He represents the "mangas
    Mangas
    Manges is the name of a social group in the Belle Époque era's counterculture of Greece . The nearest English equivalent to the term mangas is wide boy, or spiv...

    " culture prevalent in Pireus and the Rebetiko
    Rebetiko
    Rebetiko, plural rebetika, , occasionally transliterated as Rembetiko, is a term used today to designate originally disparate kinds of urban Greek folk music which have come to be grouped together since the so-called rebetika revival, which started in the 1960s and developed further from the early...

     tradition. Karagiozis usually teases him.
  • Sior Dionysios (Σιορ Διονύσιος), an Italianate gentleman from Zakynthos
    Zakynthos
    Zakynthos , also Zante, the other form often used in English and in Italian , is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the third largest of the Ionian Islands. It is also a separate regional unit of the Ionian Islands region, and the only municipality of the regional unit. It covers an area of ...

     of imagined aristocratic stock. Faithfull to his Ionian Islands
    Ionian Islands
    The Ionian Islands are a group of islands in Greece. They are traditionally called the Heptanese, i.e...

     origin, he sings cantades and speaks the Ionian Greek dialect with the appropriate accent.
  • Morfonios (Μορφονιός), a European bred softie; he is very ugly with a huge head with an extremely large nose; however, he considers himself to be handsome and keeps falling in love. He often exclaims a sound like "whit!"
  • Solomon (Σολομών), a usually rich Jew, one of the less known characters, he speaks in his own fashion, sometimes uttering a very fast repeating sound often compared to a gatling, earning him, by Karagiozis, the nickname "heavy arms", despite his frail build. His personality can vary, but usually plays minor roles.
  • Vizier
    Vizier
    A vizier or in Arabic script ; ; sometimes spelled vazir, vizir, vasir, wazir, vesir, or vezir) is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in a Muslim government....

    (Βεζύρης), also called Pasha
    Pasha
    Pasha or pascha, formerly bashaw, was a high rank in the Ottoman Empire political system, typically granted to governors, generals and dignitaries. As an honorary title, Pasha, in one of its various ranks, is equivalent to the British title of Lord, and was also one of the highest titles in...

    (Πασάς) in some versions, he is the dominant figure of the occupying side and lives in the Sarai
    Sarai
    -Places:*Saraj , an historic estate in Resen built by Ahmed Niyazi Bey*Bal-Sarai, a village in Amritsar District of Punjab, India*Sarai , the capital city of the Golden Horde*Saraj municipality, a municipality in Greater Skopje, Republic of Macedonia...

    . He is usually the beginning of each new tale, by announcing trials, deeds, tests etc. to which Karagiozis always decides to become involved.
  • Fatme (Φατμέ) is the Vizier or Pasha's beautiful daughter. From rebelious to obidient and back again, she has more than one way of causing trouble sometimes for good, opposing her despotic father or for bad in dislike of Karagiozis or some other hero.
  • Veligekas (Βελιγκέκας), an Albanian
    Albanians
    Albanians are a nation and ethnic group native to Albania and neighbouring countries. They speak the Albanian language. More than half of all Albanians live in Albania and Kosovo...

     guard of the Sarai, often hits Karagiozis. He is the executive arm of the Pasha, always in the lookout for Karagizis and never waste an opportunity to give him a good beating. Usually gets beaten though by Barba Giorgos.


Some players have introduced other characters, like Karagiozis's old father and Nontas, Stavrakas' friend.

The puppets


All the figures that represent the characters of the shows are two dimensional and designed always in profile. They were traditionally made from camel skin, carved to allow light through the image, creating details, but are today most often made of cardboard. Traditional puppets gave off black shadows against the white screen, but some more recent puppets have holes covered with colored silk or plastic gel materials to create colored shadows. The torso, waist, feet and sometimes the limbs, were separate pieces that were joined together with pins. Most figures were composed of two parts (torso and legs) with only one joint to the waist. Two characters, the Jew and Morfonios had joints in the neck, and had a flexible head.
They were moved with a stick attached to their 'back', except in the case of the figure of Karagiozis, Stavrakas and a few other characters whose arms or other limbs required separate movement. The 'scene' was a vertical white parapet, usually a cloth, called mperntes (from Turk. 'perde', curtain). Between the figures and the player (who was invisible), were candles or lamps that shed light to the figures and made their silhouette
Silhouette
A silhouette is the image of a person, an object or scene consisting of the outline and a basically featureless interior, with the silhouetted object usually being black. Although the art form has been popular since the mid-18th century, the term “silhouette” was seldom used until the early decades...

s and colours visible to the audience through the cloth.

Modern incarnations


Conrad, also known as Karaghiosis, the protagonist of Roger Zelazny
Roger Zelazny
Roger Joseph Zelazny was an American writer of fantasy and science fiction short stories and novels, best known for his The Chronicles of Amber series...

's ...And Call Me Conrad (also known as This Immortal), which won the 1966 Hugo Award for Best Novel
Hugo Award for Best Novel
The Hugo Awards are given every year by the World Science Fiction Society for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and was once officially...

, is partially inspired by this character.

In Greek daily speech, the name Karagiozis is also used as an insult more or less like clown
Clown
Clowns are comic performers stereotypically characterized by the grotesque image of the circus clown's colored wigs, stylistic makeup, outlandish costumes, unusually large footwear, and red nose, which evolved to project their actions to large audiences. Other less grotesque styles have also...

. Puppeteers complain about this, saying that while Karagiozis can be violent, mischievous, a liar and an anti-hero, he is also good-natured and faithful, so his name should not be used as an insult.

During the decade of 1980, Greek Television had Karagiozis shows on a weekly basis. These shows had more modern and educational themes, like for example Karagiozis living some myths of Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 or visiting the moon and other planets. Some of these episodes were either live with an audience, or filmed especially for the TV show and contained scenes that required editing or special effects.

There have been several recent attempts to make Karagiozis incarnations in comic book
Comic book
A comic book or comicbook is a magazine made up of comics, narrative artwork in the form of separate panels that represent individual scenes, often accompanied by dialog as well as including...

s. Since the 2000s, Karagiozis is not so popular as a choice of recreation for young kids and the number of puppeteers has diminished, but remains a significant and well known folkloric figure. Today, he is performed mostly in folk feasts or festivals and on national Greek television. There are also occasional tours in the Greek diaspora
Greek diaspora
The Greek diaspora, also known as Hellenic Diaspora or Diaspora of Hellenism, is a term used to refer to the communities of Greek people living outside the traditional Greek homelands, but more commonly in southeast Europe and Asia Minor...

.

See also

  • Karagöz and Hacivat
    Karagöz and Hacivat
    Karagöz and Hacivat are the lead characters of the traditional Turkish shadow play, popularized during the Ottoman period. The central theme of the plays are the contrasting interaction between the two main characters...

    , the Turkish analog
  • Punch and Judy
    Punch and Judy
    Punch and Judy is a traditional, popular puppet show featuring the characters of Mr. Punch and his wife, Judy. The performance consists of a sequence of short scenes, each depicting an interaction between two characters, most typically the anarchic Punch and one other character...

    , an English puppet show
  • Spathario Museum
    Spathario Museum
    The Spathario Shadow Theatre Museum is a museum in Maroussi, Athens, Greece. It exhibits mostly shadow puppet artifacts and it is named after prominent Greek puppet shadow artist Eugenios Spatharis. It was established in 1991 in the municipality of Maroussi and opened in 1996.-External links:****...

    , museum dedicated to Karagiozis named after Eugenios Spatharis.

External links