LK Advani’s “Gift” enters the exhibition hall of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

WASHINGTON — An elephant figurine made of faux pearls and semi-precious stones given to US Secretary of State Colin Powell by then-Indian Interior Minister Lal Krishna Advani in 2002 has made its way into the State Department’s exhibition hall.

“Secretary Colin Powell received this gift from Indian Minister of Home Affairs Lal Krishna Advani,” the Foreign Ministry said in its remarks, written on the underside of the elephant figurine.

In fact, it is one of fewer than 50 gifts among the hundreds of gifts the Secretary of State received from foreign dignitaries during the year selected for display in the Exhibit Hall at the center of the Henry S. Truman Building, the headquarters by the State Department, official sources said.

The State Department described the gift as follows: “With royal poise, the great man rides on the howdah, or covered seat, while the mahout, or leader, leads the elephant in front”.

“This colorful cloisonne figurine evokes a time when elephants were an essential part of Native American life – for transport, fighting battles, protecting land and traversing forests,” it says.

The elephant figurine was made by Neeru Goel, an Indian artist from Bengal who specializes in enamel sculptures.

While explaining the reason behind the selection of this special gift from India to be displayed in the exhibition hall, ministry officials said elephants are a cultural icon of the country that has become a status symbol over the centuries, symbolizing wealth, wisdom and wealth represents strength. LK Advani’s “Gift” enters the exhibition hall of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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