Design Interesting Kuwait

Horrifying Kuwaiti mythical creatures

I am not a huge fan of art unless it’s something really strange or different and I think this painting fits into that category easily. Kuwaiti artisit Nawaf Al-Hmeli has two oil paintings based on two Kuwaiti horrifying mythical creatures the Tantal and Hemarat Algayla. I honestly had never heard of these two creatures but this is what the artist says about them:

Hemarat Algayla (painting pictured above)
Half Woman/Half Donkey creature which hunts children and feeds on them “ONLY” at noon when the sun is blazing hot. It used to be the elders way of preventing children from wandering about at noon and keeping them safe so they’re not subject to neither heat strokes nor kidnapping.

Tantal is a myth created by the elders in order to keep children from going out at night and ensuring their well-being. More like the Kuwaiti version of the Boogeyman if you like. The stories coincided with the disappearance of a young boy at that time who went out to sea at night and never came back. People immediately blamed it on Mr. Tantal here and the myth grew. 20 years later, this man comes along looking for his family and told everyone his story of how he was kidnapped and sold to a Persian man as a slave when he was a kid.

I really love the artist for bringing these two mythical creatures into focus since it allows me to share it with everyone. I’m not sure if there are any more myths but if there are would love to hear about them as well. I don’t have any information on the size of the paintings or if they are for sale but you can check out the artists deviantART page [Here], the Hmarat Algayla painting by clicking [Here] and Tantal by clicking [Here]

Thanks Safaa

39 replies on “Horrifying Kuwaiti mythical creatures”

There is hemarat il gayla (7emarat il gayla), Tantal (6an6al), al si’lu (si3lu).

From what I remember there were two version of hemarat il gayla. One did her kidnapping at noon, the other was a nice time demon that either kidnapped children or attacked me by hitch hiking and attacking them in their cars.

Tantal and Si’lu probably became interchangable after a while. However I remember Silu being the one by the seaside that would drown children unless they ran upto it and suckled from its breast, that way it would consider the child in question as one of its own and would not harm it.

I also heard of another whose name escapes me but its basically a sheep that will eat everything in sight but I think that story came about not to scare children but to deter people from stealing sheep that they simply found.

Anyone else got stories like this?

dont know about Kuwait..
but there’s a story that takes rounds in Sri Lanka.. not even kids even the elders think its true..

the name of the Ghost or character is Mohini.

they say that she will stand wearing a white Saari (traditional dress) with a peace of coconut tree branch in her hand.. but if sumone looks at her it will appear as if she is holding a baby.. she attacks only Men..

and then you have to do excorcism and stuff to get rid of her…

they say that there are around 18-20 types of ghost..Jinn being one of them.. Mohini is another 😉

Yes people did you all forget Abu Sha3ar , or Bu Sha3ar. The one that rooms around at midnight from one roof to another, a creature covered with hair from head to toe jumping roof tops and climbing walls scaring of people !!!!

I mean roams around, and great art by the way Tantal is not that tall though supposedly he is taler then the human twice from the stories my great grandfather told me !!!

Sami, actually Tantal is very tall according to the myth because in Kuwaiti books it says that he used to stand in alleys and dangle his testicles to the ground if you read more about the story.

Nawaf Ahmeli is known for his amazing hyperrealism, but this something new for me. Very interesting. Thanks Mark!

I remember a painting by Bader Al Qetami, who is one of the pioneering Kuwaiti artists, of Om Al Saafa wa elleef (أم السعف و الليف)which is a woman who flies with wings made of palm branches (I’m not sure how that is supposed to be scary!).

I found a picture of it (a very small one) here:
(the second painting in the middle of the page)

It was painted around the 1970s or 1980s.

Heya al Moghni noted in her book Women in Kuwait that Jinn would come in the form of sheep at night and so people were scared of sheep after dark. that’s hilarious. i mean, they could have picked something a bit scarier! hahahah

There’s an even more ruthless monster that loves consuming kids, teens and adults. It comes out at around 5am but is in full flow by late evening. It has become synonymous with Kuwait and its culture. People think it is cool to be seen with this devil although it is killing them slowly.

Name: Starbucks

We even had evil mermaids who posed as beautiful women drowning in the sea and devoured whoever came to their rescue… why are mermaids always percieved as evil?.

Beautiful work! What makes an artist differ is the ability to actually take the next step and start flying within his own imagination, Nawaf has surely done so .. well done!

I love it! Actually I love the idea but I’d never actually buy it since my eldest sister used to tell me all about hmarat al gayla when I was a kid (“If you peer under our front door now, you can see her donkey feet…”). Then again, I really appreciate how he beautifully realized this curious story many people share 🙂

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