Center for Puppetry Arts_Museum_Permanent Exhibit
Contact Us | Ticket Prices | Buy Tickets | Museum Store | Search
about us performances museum education special events contribute header_home_0_1

Puppets: The Power of Wonder
Special Exhibitions
Passports: New Arrivals from the World of Puppetry
The Art of Puppet Making
Discovery Days
The Collection
become a member

Home > Museum > Passports: New Arrivals from the World of Puppetry

Notes by Bradford Clark, Curator

Egyptian Khiyal al Zill Shadow Puppetry

El Rekhim, c2007
Dr. Nabil Bahgat
Egypt; shadow puppet
Gift of Dr. Nabil Bahgat

Woman at Home, c2007
Dr. Nabil Bahgat
Egypt; shadow puppet
Gift of Dr. Nabil Bahgat

Modern Figure of a Man, c2007
Dr. Nabil Bahgat
Egypt; shadow puppet
Gift of Dr. Nabil Bahgat

Egyptian Khiyal al Zill Shadow Puppetry

Nearly one thousand years ago, Arab scholars wrote of both shadow and string puppets as ways to discuss philosophical concepts. The term khiyal al zill came to represent shadow puppetry. Plays were performed in mud huts and palaces for all kinds of ceremonial occasions, and multi-episode serial plays were especially popular over the month-long fast of Ramadan.

While the form came close to extinction in the modern era, recent efforts have resulted in its being revived and documented by contemporary scholars and presented to new audiences.

Dr. Nabil Bahgat created the replicas of traditional museum figures in Cairo and Berlin by using techniques he learned from Hassan Khannufa, one of the very last traditional shadow players, who passed away in 2004. The Wamda Shadow Puppet troupe in Cairo, which is dedicated to the revival of the Egyptian folk puppetry, was co-founded by Dr. Bahgat and Isis Syrtal. In 2007, Wamda (which means “Beam of Light”) created “Our Shadows” in collaboration with the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, introducing Egyptian traditional shadow theatre to American audiences.

Saudi Aramco Magazine’s article on Arabic shadow puppetry

Dr. Nabil Bahgat’s YouTube channel with performance clips of
traditional performers

Center for Puppetry Arts catalog pages:
El Rekhim
Woman at Home
Modern Figure of a Man

2012-13 Season sponsored in part by:

season sponsors logo

 Back to Top

Contact Us
Kelsey Fritz
Phone: 404.881.5130
Fax: 404.873.9907

Museum Hours
•Tues-Fri: 9am-3pm
•Saturday: 9am-5pm
•Sunday: 11am-5pm
Extended hours during evening events.

Museum Admission (without performance ticket)
Individuals - $8.25
Members - FREE

Tickets include the Special Exhibits.

FREE Museum Thursdays!
Visit our Museum Exhibits free of charge every Thursday from 1-3pm.

Fulton County FREE Museum Saturdays
Free admission to our Museum Exhibits for Fulton County residents, students, and government employees the first Saturday of every month!

More information on ticket prices.

Contact Us | e-Newsletter! | Buy Tickets | Search | Legal & Privacy Information | Museum Store | Museum Store Return Policy

Center for Puppetry Arts | 1404 Spring St. NW at 18th | Atlanta, GA 30309-2820 USA
Ticket Sales: 404.873.3391 | Administrative: 404.873.3089 | Facsimile: 404.873.9907
Copyright © Center for Puppetry Arts, 2005.
Designed By: Macquarium