Egypt’s most famous traditional childrens’ puppet show, El-Aragouz, was accepted on Wednesday to be a part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
The intergovernmental committee gathered for a week in Mauritius for their annual event, in which they consider the traditional knowledge and skills that need to be safeguarded by adding them to the list.
Al-Aragouz is a wooden marionette puppet that is about to be distinguished within the city life. It first saw the light in Egypt in the Fatimid era. History books did not detect the origin of the puppet, but it was stated that it was not created in Egypt.
When it came to Egypt, that type of art was only exclusive to sultans and the elites. The art gained wide popularity in Egyptian society as it reflected the political, cultural and economic situations of the people through the puppets which appeared in different shapes and roles.
Throughout the years, Al-Aragouz widely spread among all social classes, and became an inseparable part of different Prophet bith celebrations, also known as Moulids. It started fading away with the appearance of animation shows TV.
Currently, Wamda Troupe is still the only performing group of the show at old Cairo’s Bayt Al-Suhaymi.