A Bolivian house with sculptures of devils scares the city

Sculptures of horned devils adorn the home of Bolivian miner David Choque, intended as a playful nod to the South American country’s colonial past but which has shocked some neighbors and sparked allegations of occult rituals, in El Alto, in Bolivia on February 16, 2022. Picture taken on February 16, 2022. Claudia Morales, Reuters

EL ALTO, Bolivia – A Bolivian miner has covered his home with sculptures of long-horned demons and other creepy creatures, intended as a playful nod to the country’s colonial past, but which instead shocked some neighbors who fear a connection with occult rituals.

The adobe brick house in the high-altitude town of El Alto is owned by David Choque, who hired an artist to create the skeleton devils from cement and wood and installed them on its roof, doors and its walls.

There is an imprint of a black skull on Choque’s front door and giant teeth around a window frame, beneath which hides an intricately carved dragon.

Choque told Reuters he hoped the spooky house could boost local tourism.

“Closed-minded people will think it’s something supernatural, but people have to open their minds and see it as a tourist attraction, something that can improve the area,” said Choque, who comes from a family of miners.

“It will bring good things, no harm.”

Choque added that the carvings are an allusion to life in Bolivian mines centuries ago under Spanish colonial rule when local indigenous men were scared and forced to dig for silver.

Colonial masters showed miners pictures of demons and warned them that they would be removed by spirits if they refused to work.

During three centuries of Spanish rule, Bolivia, like Mexico, was a major source of silver that was shipped to Asia in exchange for goods like porcelain and silk, in one of the first major commodity exchanges. in the world.

Some neighbors see the demons on Choque’s house, many with their mouths bared in grotesque smiles, as signals to satanic worshippers, and Choque laments that he is fighting baseless rumors.

A resident, Maria Laurel, said she heard about nude rituals in the house. “The neighbors here are scared,” she said, leaning against her car. “The truth is, it scares me.”

Choque denied such rituals and noted that similar depictions of demons appear on altars at the entrances to mines where workers often leave offerings including coca leaves and alcohol, believing this will protect them in the mines. mines.

(Reporting by Monica Machicao; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Karishma Singh)

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