Aldar Kusa

Male glove puppet with a central rod.

The puppet has a large, moulded head with large, painted eyes; long eyelashes; long, brown eyebrows (made from strips of hair); a hooked nose; a wispy moustache and beard and a smiling, red mouth. He is dressed in a black, pointed hat made from felted cloth around the base of which is wrapped a turban. The turban is made of a fabric with grey-blue and bolder blue stripes edged in gold. He wears a robe of the same fabric which is trimmed on the collar and at the cuffs and front opening in black and white. The robe is tied together with a belt of the same blue, stripey fabric over a plain cream, hessian undershirt. The puppet has a central wooden rod, fabric hands and flat, wooden arms.

The puppet is of 'Aldar Kusa', a Kazakh folk hero who is a popular character in Kyrgyzstan as well as Uzbekistan. He is a form of the Turkish folk hero Hora/Hoja Nasr Edin (Hoca/Hoja is a title meaning 'holy'; generally applied to one who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca/Makkah). His shamanist affiliation is indicated by his pointed hat and bushy eyebrows (shamans often masked themselves with hair; see Basilov, V. N. 1989. Nomads of Eurasia (University of Washington Press: London; And, M. 1987. Karagöz. Turkish Shadow Theatre (Istanbul: Dost Publications).

This puppet was purchased from the Bukhara English Puppet Theatre.

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