“Secretary Colin Powell received this gift from India’s Home Secretary Lal Krishna Advani,” the Foreign Ministry said in its comments at the bottom of the elephant statue.
In fact, it is one of fewer than 50 gifts among the hundreds of gifts received by the Secretary of State over the year from foreign dignitaries selected to be displayed in the Exhibition Hall, at the center of the Henry S Truman building, which is the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, official sources said.
Of the gift, the State Department said, “with royal confidence, the big man rides in the howdah, or covered chair, while the mahout, or guide, leads the elephant at the front.”
“This colorful cloisonne figurine harks back to the days when elephants were an indispensable part of Indian life – for transportation, combat, land protection and traversing forests,” it said.
The elephant figurine was created by Neeru Goel, an Indian artist from Bengal, who specializes in enamel sculptures.
While the ministry officials explained why this particular gift from India was chosen to be displayed in the exhibition hall, they said that elephants are a cultural icon of the country, which over the centuries has become a status symbol representing wealth, wisdom and strength. .
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