Asia Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU)
Asia-Pacific Database on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)

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Naghali is narrating of important stories from the Iranian fables, myths and epics which have remained in the most important books since ancient times. In this play, one person both narrates and plays all the roles.

Reasons for selection

Iran has rich literature including mythical stories which have been composed in poetry. Naghali (story-telling)is important in Iranian culture; through this kind of play, people familiarized themselves with stories, myths and especially with written literature of Iran like Ferdowsi's Shah Nameh.

Area where performed

All parts of Iran

Essential elements of the performing art

Music, Theatre, Narration

Detailed explanation

Naghali is narrating of a story or an event in verse or prose with special tone, feelings and expression. A naghal (storyteller), playing the roles of different characters by himself, usually narrates epics and mythical stories in coffee houses. Naghali still survives and naghal narrate stories taken from Ferdowsi's Shah Nameh and other ancient stories. Naghal are divided into two groups: those narrating all kinds of stories and those just narrating stories from Shah Nameh ( Shahnameh khani ). Naghali has been common in Iran since the Safavid dynasty.

Publication and textual documentation

already available

Audio documentation

already available

Visual documentation

already available

Institution/organisation involved in preservation and promotion

does not exist

Data provider

Ms. Laleh Taghian
Manager of publication
Center of Dramatic Arts
Address: Vahdat Hall, Ostad shahnar St., Hatez Ave., Tehran, Iran