The Cenachero


The Cenachero is one of the references of Malaga, it refers to the old fisherman who sold fresh fish in a mobile way. Fishermen caught fish with a net and put fresh fish, usually anchovies, known as victorianos, horse mackerel, sardines, and tiny fish called chanquetes, in their cenachos or espuertas made of handmade esparto, which they carried in their arms. They strolled through the streets and made their cenachos dance.

What is a cenacho?

This figure is now extinct, but cenachos used to be very popularly found on the sandy beaches of the coast. Cenachos were a kind of handmade baskets with handles made of esparto. In the popular Malaga vocabulary, the definition of cenacho is a tray woven from esparto used for transporting fish.

Traditionally, the cenachero wore a sash, had the cenachos hanging, and wore a hat.

Cenachero statue

The cenachero, along with the biznaga or the boquerón, constitutes one of the hallmarks of the city of Malaga.

In 1964, the Malaga artist Jaime Fernández Pimentel created a bronze sculpture in tribute to this cenachero character, specifically inspired by a fisherman named Manolo “El Petaca”. The sculpture is located in Plaza de la Marina, and underneath it, there is a plaque with verses by the Malaga poet Salvador Rueda dedicated to the figure:

“Allá van sus pescadores (Off they go, its fishermen)

con los oscuros bombachos (with the dark trousers swinging,)

columpiando los cenachos (balancing the baskets of fish)

con los brazos cimbradores. (with their shaking arms.)

Del pregón a los clamores (From the sales pitch to the shouts)

hinchan las venas del cuello (they swell the veins of the neck,)

y en cada pescado bello (and in each beautiful fish)

se una escama distinta, (a different scale is found,)

en cada escama una tinta (in each scale a color)

y en cada tinta un destello”. (and in each color a sparkle.”)

In the US city of Mobile, Alabama, in a fountain in Plaza Malaga, a square dedicated to the Spanish city, there is a replica of the Malaga sculpture of the cenachero, called The fishmonger. This statue was donated by the city of Malaga in tribute to the twinning existing between both cities and near it is Plaza Spanish, where Spanish flags fly, and where Friendship Arches are installed, also donated by the city of Malaga.