It stood there in all its glory.
A 2.7 metre (nine foot) fibreglass fertility symbol, complete with a 1.5 metre (five foot) phallus had been inaugurated late last year. It depicts a smiling indigenous man representing a ceramic vessel from Peru’s pre-Colombian Mochica culture.
It had been put in place in the district of Moche, on Peru’s northern coast, the epicentre of the Mochica ancient civilisation, which existed between 150 and 700 AD.
The Mochica were known for their great ceramics made by craftsmen. The pottery traditionally depicted, among other things, scenes of hunting, war or sex.
“It represents abundance… fertility… and above all because, in these times, we need abundance in every sense, in health, the economy, peace and love,” the town’s mayor, Arturo Fernandez Bazan, a gynaecologist by profession, told EFE news site.
The influx of tourists to the site, outside the district capital city of Trujillo, “exceeded our expectations”, he added.
But it seems not everyone was pleased with the eye-catching addition to the local tourist trail.
Vandals this week smashed a hole in the huge member and fired gunshots in the air as they were fleeing the site, according to local media.
Mr Bazan said: “At two in the morning, three hooded criminals held a knife to the security guard’s neck to keep him from reacting or calling his colleagues on the radio, and two of them damaged the phallus.”
He accused a rival political party of being behind the attack on the statue.
In defiance, Mr Bazan said another 30 Mochica statues would be built, including up to nine which would be acts of childbirth.
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