Naqqali icon Mostafa Saeidi dies at 83

February 21, 2020 - 18:4

TEHRAN – Seyyed Mostafa Saeidi, a master of naqqali – a dramatic style of storytelling dedicated to stories from Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh and other epic Persian stories – died of effects of aging on Friday. He was 83.

He learned Islamic eulogy from Seyyed Mehdi Safaripur in Hamedan when he was only nine. At twelve, he began to learn naqqali from Karam Esfahani, one of the eminent artists of the traditional dramatic style.

At seventeen, Saeidi started his career as a morshed or naqqal, someone who performs naqqali, in Borujerd at Haji Abbas Shakhenabat’s teahouse, where naqqali performances were hosted in the past.

He then left Borujerd to Malayer to pursue his career at Vali Zargaran’s teahouse. For years people watched his powerful performances in teahouses in Khorramabad, Dorud and several other nearby towns.

Shokri Ghadiri’s teahouse in Borujerd was a favorite haunt of his fans who, over a period of thirty years, came there to watch his performances.

He compiled various stories for naqqali in the book “Naqqali Scroll”, which was published in two volumes.

Parisa Siminmehr is one of his disciples, who studied the art under Saeidi for 11 years.  

The oldest form of dramatic performance in Iran that has long played an important role in society from the courts to the villages, naqqali was inscribed on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding in 2011.

Photo: Morshed Seyyed Mostafa Saeidi gives a naqqali performance in an undated photo.


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