I received this really neat card from Canan, who lives
in Turkey. These two characters are puppets in a 'shadow play'.
Their names are Karagoz and Hacivat. A shadow play requires a muslin
curtain, the puppets, and a candle. The puppets are
manipulated behind the curtain and the candle is behind the
puppets. This casts shadows on the curtain for the audience
to see. Canan says that the shows are unscripted, the operator
making up the plot and dialog as he goes along. Sometimes he sings,
sometimes he plays a musical instrument, or sometimes he
'just gives information'.
Thank you, Canan, for such an interesting and original card!
Here are Karagoz and Hacivat again. Most authorities say that the Turkish
shadow-plays began in the 1300's. They were known to be performed in the Ottoman palaces in the late 14th century around Java.
Legend says that Karagoz and Hacivat were real men who were construction workers and were helping to build a mosque in Bursa. Their jokes entertained the other workers so much that it held up the work on
the mosque. This angered the sultan and he was also concerned that these
two 'jokers' might encourage rebellion, so he had them executed. The
construction of the mosque was completed without them, but their comrades did not forget them and kept their jokes alive by telling them over and over. In time,
the adventures of Karagoz and Hacivat became a new form of entertainment and the traditional shadow puppet theater was born.