Traditional glove puppet from Catalonia. This form was introduced internationally through a series of articles written by the Spanish puppeteer Harry Vernon Tozer. These articles first appeared in 1932 in the American journal, Puppetry Yearbook.
The construction and manipulation of the putxinel·li puppet is significantly different from the guignol lyonnais (glove puppet of Lyon). Its head, shoulders and chest are one piece, and they are usually carved out of linden wood. Its features, whose carving was often entrusted to sculptors of religious effigies, are more life-like, or at least less grotesque, than those of most European glove puppets. On the wooden body a yoke, the canesú, wears clothes that fall very naturally on both male and female figures. The piece of wood has three holes into which the puppeteer slips the three middle fingers, while the thumb and little finger, fitted into each of the tapered sleeves (didales), are used to move the arms sewn into the sleeve of the canesú. The puppet’s hands can be replaced during the show by other hands that brandish swords, sticks, baskets or other objects (mà de puny). The puppet is substantially bigger than the guignol but it is also heavier, making manipulation more difficult. However, the putxinel·li realizes gains in gestures, stage presence, and expressiveness.
Among the puppeteers who have used this puppet are Isidre Busquets, Federicu de Figueres, Joan Palou (active during the 19th century), Juli Pi (1851-1920) and, in the 20th century, Antoni Faidella (1891-1970), the Anglès dynasty (Anglès Pallejà, Anglès Vilaplana, Anglès Guzmán), and the Vergés dynasty (Vergés Prats, Vergés Cadena, Vergés Martínez).
This puppet gradually fell out of style. Today only the companies Putxinel·lis Vergés and Pa Sucat still employ it, the latter using it in their public outreach work with school children.
- Coromines, Pere. Putxinel·lis: teatre [Putxinel·lis (Puppets): Theatre]. Barcelona: Altés, 1927.
- Dido, Ezequiel Vigues. Teatre de Putxinel·lis [Putxinel·lis (Puppet) Theatre]. Barcelona: Institut del teatre, 1975.