Punchinello, known as Pulcinella in Italian and Punch in English, is a stock figure in traditional southern Italian puppetry.
He has his origins in the 17th century Italian comedy theatre known as Commedia dell'Arte which involves three main classes of stereotypical characters: masters, servants (or clowns), and lovers.
Pulcinella falls into the clown class. He is always depicted with a white costume and black mask, a big hooked nose, and a sharp, rasping voice. His form is often short and fat, and his character, nasty and sly.
In other European traditions the character has been modified in various ways; for example, he has become Kasper in Germany, Jan Klaassen in the Netherlands, and Mr Punch in the English puppet show Punch and Judy.