Harlequin is also a familiar character in Punch and Judy puppet theatre. In the Barcelona, similar puppet shows had the characters, 'Christoforo' and 'Pulchinelli', who a popular feature of street life at the turn of century.
Picasso probably saw many such performances. He also is known to have assisted in some of Pére Romeu's famous puppet shows at Els Quatre Ghats.
He would probably also have witnessed enactments of harlequin's, "Triumph Over Death" in the annual street carnivals of Barcelona.
Picasso also concealed a number of harlequin forms in his most famous painting Guernica.
These hidden harlequins appear to be magically undermining the forces of death in the painting, and are therefore reminiscent of harlequin's Triumph Over Death.
Wine is one of harlequin's traditional accoutrements which he uses to seduce women.
Occasionally, Picasso's harlequin appears to do the same thing, as can be seen in the painting 'Au Lapin Agile', 1905.
Picasso's harlequin often appears as the father of an infant or yearning for fatherhood, a quality associated with the traditional harlequin, who has the ability to raise breast feed his own children, an alchemical analogy for guidance rendered to the initiate by Mercury.
Picasso symbolically links two of these element and we see harlequin's wine equated with pregnancy as in the 1905 drawing, 'Circus Artist and Child. It shows a mother breast feeding her baby, a wine bottle at her feet is adapted into a baby's feeding bottle. In Picasso's symbolic frame of reference it is not simply a baby's bottle, nor a wine bottle. It is a double symbol for harlequin and Mercury.
In the Three Dancers and the 1934 drawing there is a further, astonishing interlinking of Picasso's wine and pregnancy symbolism.