Just back from a long-awaited trip to Greece, one of the first things I sought out in Athens (after the Acropolis!) was some information on Greek Shadow Puppetry. With a stepson who thrives on both ancient mythology and modern animation, Greek shadow theater tells stories of myths and heroes, with roots that eventually led to the way we produce and see animation today. A shop called Amorgos, in Plaka, lured us in with the large and small-scale wood carved and painted original puppets hanging in the windows...
A little history from The Magic of Traditional Greek Shadow Theatre:
"Shadow theatre was developed in many lands, including China, India, Persia, Indochina and Asia Minor. It was often associated with the worship of the dead as well as with deities of the 'other world.'
Greece is among the very few European countries that adopted shadow theatre, abandoning, however, its religious aspect and adding the provincial Greek culture's own uniqueness to it. Thus, shadow theatre slowly developed into an art form of its own kind, acquiring a Greek interpretation which also included music, acting and social satire incorporated with traditional folklore."
Pictured, Karagiozis: He is a sarcastic, egoist, seditious and funny character. He is poor but proud. He is a comical figure which is presented as the heroes of Aristophanes comedies, the Father of Comedy.
Handmade carton figure "moukavas" painted and carved by a Karagiozis-player.
Visit the Amorgos furniture, art, and object store online here.