“Once upon a time, when camels were town-criers, rats were barbers, donkey was the sealer, mule was the arm keeper, I was swinging my parents’ cradle slowly; I was confused, white beard, black beard, new beard shaved by barber; if I was a butcher I could not wave the chopper, if I was a blacksmith I could not shoe the mule, if I was in the Turkish bath would I as for the watcher; I came away from a far away river, a hill, went in a box and what did I see? A woman was sitting at the corner, I spent big effort and convinced her; she stood up and looked at my face, we left together and walked straight forward without going to the right or left; we walked for long time, crossed plains and hills and spent six months and a spring –when we looked back we realized that we have not walked even at a single wheat length, we could not go back or walk forward, so let me tell you a story… Once upon a time in Bursa there were two human beings named Karagöz and Hacivat…
Karagöz and Hacivat in
the 14th century
Karagöz was a rude man with a stick in his hand who use physical power very often, mostly indiscreet and sometimes a cheater. Hacivat was a flatterer man with changing personality, using nice words while speaking, attending all weddings and entertainments…
With their unique style “Hacı cav cav” and “Karagözüm”, Turkish puppet shadow play’s two main characters Karagöz and Hacivat, whether we are in good mood or bad mood, have been making us laugh for centuries...
Poor and uneducated Karagöz goes into trouble very often because of his ignorance, and to hide his ignorance he acts as misunderstanding what he is told and makes words look like other words, puts the person he is talking to in a difficult position. Hacivat, who is good in turning the situation on his advantage by using his talent in language and limited knowledge, is the person who comes across Karagöz’s misunderstandings at most cases. It is rumored that Karagöz used to wear red clothes all the times, with a tobacco bag in his hand, interesting hat showing his bold head, and had black beard and round face; Hacivat used to wear decorated green clothes all the times, with a conical hat in his head, and had a pointed beard and long face. These two met during Bursa Ulucami mosque’s construction and their fame spread to all Ottoman territory. It is rumored that, Sultan Orhan thought that the mosque’s construction was going slow because of Karagöz and Hacivat’s quarrels which were making everyone laugh and sentenced the two for death... Sultan made the two to be executed but the tale of Hacivat and Karagöz, even if they never existed, centuries have passed, and modern technology causing disadvantages for traditional Turkish shadow art, still making everyone,
from the age of 7 to 70 and from every generation, to laugh and will continuo to do so...
Traditional shadow art
Shadow play, although its source not known for sure, thought to be originated from China, Indonesia, Cava and Bali islands and developed after that. European voyagers who visited these areas, while returning to their countries took this art with them and made their people to love it. In the mid 18th century shadow play, especially in France under the name of “China Shadows” attracted big admiration. Unfortunately, like any other fashion, the interest in this play lasted only until 1860 and its popularity
among people declined over time and finally disappeared. According to thesis of some researchers, shadow play was
brought to Anatolia by gypsies who came from Cava and India. According to different information, since this play is
mostly performed by the Jews, shadow shows have Spanish and Portuguese origins and people who
escaped from these countries brought it to Anatolia.
in the Ottomans
It is know that shadow play, which includes human and animal figures obtained by cutting and painting leather or similar
materials, and these figures are attached to sticks and played behind a cloth screen using candle
light, brought to our country after conquest of Egypt by Selim I. After he watched this play in Egypt, Selim I brought puppeteers to Istanbul, and after that Öküz Mehmed Pasha brought shadow players to Istanbul city from the country of pyramids. When certain actors like Karagöz and Hacivat became main figures in shadow play, this playin Ottoman territory and obviously in
Egypt performed in Turkish language with revised versions and continued to spread.
All the time source of laughing
Shadow play, became famous under the name of Karagöz, approached social problems with a witty language, implies, and jokes and nowadays it is still being performed. Karagöz and Hacivat used to be performed in holidays, cafes,
circumcision feasts and weddings; at the end of the 1970s it was audio recorded on tapes for children, by the end of the 1980s it was thought to be forgotten, but nowadays once again it is receiving the interest it highly deserves. In the movie
directed by Ezel Akay called “Why were Karagöz and Hacivat killed?” Beyazıt Öztürk and Haluk Bilginer are casting and this movie once again made Karagöz and Hacivat to add joy to our lives. Why were Karagöz and
Hacivat killed?” called movie once again made Karagöz and Hacivat to add joy to our lives.