carpinteros (Woodpecker Puppet)

About this object


These sets of puppets and boxes (3341/1-12) are similar to those illustrated and described in "Mexican Masks and Puppets: Master Carvers of the Sierra De Puebla" by Bryan J. Stevens (2012), and may have been carved by the same maker. Agapillo Sagreiro, the seller, is a campesino who worked the land (in the Teziutlan area) until he became too old. (In 2018 he was about 80 years old.) He now spends much of his life in Mexico City, with one of his daughters, and sells goods at La Lagunilla, a Mexico City flea market, most Sundays. He sells masks, costumes, helmets and related items from his home region on behalf of other campesinos, widows of dancers, or leaders of dance groups that have now become defunct. The carver of these puppets likely used to make puppets for use in traditional dance dramas, but the puppet sets now appear to be made as folk art, to be sold to museums and collectors. Since the 1960s, dance dramas in the Sierra de Puebla have become less and less common, and are no longer concentrated in rancherias, only in a few specific towns.

Physical description

Hand puppet made of wood which has been carved and painted to depict a woodpecker. Red woodpecker with black wings is decorated with white circles, and two artificial flowers, one nailed to the lower back, and the other to the crown of the head. Operated by two strings (one missing) and a leather strap. Joint at the neck.