Supay, China

China Supay is Supay’s female counterpart and consort. She sometimes shares altars with her husband. They may be invoked together on behalf of the safety of miners. China Supay is considered with ambivalence. On one hand, like her husband, she is identified with the devil, on the other she is also identified with the Virgin of the Assumption.

The term China (pronounced Chee-na) has different implications in different parts of Latin America. Although it may literally refer to a Chinese woman, China Supay is not Chinese; she’s a local spirit. In Bolivia, China indicates a female or a servant woman but also has somewhat derogatory sexual implications. These implications are on full display during Carnival, where dancers don China Supay masks. China Supay was originally danced almost exclusively by transvestites until they were banned.


Tía (“Auntie”) and Awicha






Silver (considered the moon’s metal but also the metal actually extracted from these mines)


The month of August (also associated with the Virgin Mary)


Lumps of sugar (try absinthe sugar, crafted into the form of card suit symbols)



Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

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