Large Vintage Chenchere from Sierra Puebla
Last 1/2 20th Century
Carved and painted wood
Ht. 10" x W. 20" D. 5"
The mountainous region known as the Sierra Pueba spans the States of Veracruz and parts of Puebla. A tradition distinctive to the indigenous groups of this area involves puppets with large wooden hands that clap during the puppet show and a woodpecker-like bird, called a chenchere, that, through the manipulation of attached strings, climbs a tall bamboo pole. When the puppets and chenchere are not in use, they are kept in a wooden box created especially for this purpose and painted on the outside with wonderful folk art scenes. We are told that the woodcarvers who create the puppets, the chencheres, and the puppet boxes are dying and that the centuries-old tradition may be fading away.
This 70 or 80-year old chenchere may be a rare bird, soon to be an extinct species.