A gift for Joseph Stalin by the State Delegation from the People’s
Republic of China led by PRC Foreign Minister Zhou Enlai, 1952
Elephant tusk, covered with fretwork,
mounted on a wooden stand.
The scene depicted through this complex
artwork shows a “High-Flying Dragon.”
Significance of the dragon in China: sign of the emperor, symbol
of power and authority. The dragon’s image is always present
on the sovereign’s attire and his personal standard.
“Note the following: the ‘imperial’ dragon’s paws always have five claws. This symbol was so important in ancient China that any ordinary citizen who dared decorate his belongings with the dragon’s image would be sentenced to death. Therefore the dragon on the expensive gift by the Chinese comrades has only four claws…”
This mythical creature is also considered to be the “custodian
of water reservoirs” in Greater China. The scene depicting
the dragon flying up in the clouds, in the quest for the pearly
raindrop, which is about to fall down to ground, is the most
revered scene for Chinese artists.
On top of all of that the dragon
is: a king creature that brings
rain, riches and happiness. Such
were the good wishes extended to
the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin,
by the PRC Foreign Minister
Zhou Enlai, head of the state
delegation of the People’s Republic
of China in 1952.
Zhou Enlai at No.17 Meiyuan Xincun,
Nanjing, 1946. This media file is
in the public domain
Ivory: one of the most exquisite and expensive materials
available for crafting. Bone etching is one of the
earliest art forms in China and is considered to
be pride of the nation.
Only such could be the gift
for the “Leader of All Nations,”
as Stalin was known by the Chinese
communist allies in the booming times
of Soviet-Chinese relations.