Three hooded men have reportedly vandalised the huge erect member of a controversial indigenous statue in Peru.
The three-metre- (10-foot-) high fibreglass statue was erected in the district of Moche in the western Peruvian province of Trujillo for the New Year.
The inauguration of the phallic statue, known as a ‘huaco’, surprised many Peruvians and quickly became a tourist attraction. However, many locals believed that it was tacky and inappropriate.
‘Huaco’ is the Peruvian term for earthen vessels and other pottery works by indigenous peoples of the Americas, often found in ancient burial sites and in the ruins of temples.
Moche District mayor Cesar Arturo Fernandez said the statue was donated by a local plastics artist who wanted to contribute something cultural to the area.
He added: “A plastics artist asked for permission to install it there. We have always promoted two types of huaco: huaco busts and erotic ones.
“In our culture, it does not represent eroticism but faith to God. In addition, sexuality must be seen as something normal and natural.”
Just days after being unveiled and reported on by international media, three men reportedly vandalised the new monument, according to the mayor.
Mayor Fernandez told local media that a company offered to carry out the repair later the same day.
Describing the suspects as “three hooded men”, the mayor said they attacked the statue’s erect member with a knife.
Images show a large hole at the top of the fibreglass monument’s manhood.
He added that the three hooded men then fled the scene and have not yet been arrested.
It is unclear if the local police are investigating the incident.
The statue, a replica of the ceramic vases of the Moche civilisation, has sparked great interest since its unveiling, and recent video clips show crowds of people posing with the monument while stunned motorists slow down to get a good look while passing.
The Moche civilisation lived in northern Peru and had its capital near present-day Moche between 100 and 700 AD.
Along with the Nazca culture, the Moche developed a strong tradition of ceramic work and creating figurines, as well carrying out engineering feats such as building irrigation canals and dams to allow them to expand their agricultural capabilities on a large scale.