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Performing Arts

Sayeh Bazi

Bazi-e-khial, Khial-Bazi

Shadow play


In the Iranian shadow play, some pictures of dancing people were painted on a transparent cylinder in which there was a source of light. The turning of the cylinder showed the people's movements painted on it.

Reasons for selection

Shadow play existed in Iran since ancient times, but today is not in existence any more. There is information about this play in many old books and stories.

Area where performed

Central area of Iran

Essential elements of the performing art

The shadow play, according to some evidence, existed till the twelfth century but now no longer exists. In the Iranian shadow play, the story was demonstrated by projecting the shadows of some puppets moving in front of a source of light on a surface. The puppets were made of leather and sometimes of transparent skin through which light could pass so that one-dimensional puppets could be seen clearly.

It should be mentioned that puppets were moved with thin reeds. The shadow play was also called Khial-Bazi or Bazi-e-khial (the play of imagination). Some believe that this kind of play might have been influenced by similar play forms in China or India due to the existence of the Silk Road.

Detailed explanation

no information at present

Publication and textual documentation

no information at present

Audio documentation

no information at present

Visual documentation

no information at present

Institution/organisation involved in preservation and promotion

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