The artistic alias of Neno Hristov, itinerant puppeteer, one of the earliest Bulgarian puppet performers known to us. Neno Kuklajiyata (“Neno, the Puppeteer”, also referred to as Kukladjiyata Neno) was the first travelling puppeteer to be documented in Bulgaria. Born in Nova Mahala in 1861, he was a blacksmith by trade. In 1893, he began putting on puppet shows, performing in the streets. He travelled throughout the country, attracting national attention with his puppets that he had made out of various metals which he manipulated while playing the tamboura, a traditional stringed instrument. He also accompanied his performances with songs and clever tricks. His shows were enjoyed for their wit and humour.

Throughout his life, Neno Kuklajiyata jealously guarded the secrets of how his puppets were made. Despite the general popularity of his puppets, Neno Kuklajiyata led the life of a vagrant, wandering from town to town with his puppets. He died in 1916 in Lovech, on November 5.

(See Bulgaria.)