During the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing on Sunday and Monday, China presented world leaders and their spouses with official gifts as thanks for their participation. According to a report posted to the Beijing Daily's WeChat blog capitalnews, the gifts consisted of a carved lacquer plate, a cloisonné canteen, a cloisonné container shaped like an ancient food vessel known as ding, a round lacquer box containing a silk scarf and a scarf ring and a silver cloisonné container with a jade inlaid lid, as well as a jewelry box made using a combination of several traditional Chinese handicraft.[Special coverage]
State leaders were given one of the first three items, while their spouses were presented with one of the other last three items.
The designs of the gifts followed the themes of peaceful development and collaboration.
In keeping with the spirit of the forum, the gift design team incorporated Silk Road elements such as camel caravans or famous sites such as the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.
Due to the complicated and time consumer process involved in creating lacquer ware, China has rarely included it as part of previous national gifts to world leaders and their spouses.
Lacquer ware involves coating a wooden base with numerous layers sap from a lacquer tree, and then carving into the dried lacquer base. Since each layer must dry before another layer is applied it can take several months to a year to create one object made up of hundreds of layers. For example, just applying the lacquer layers for the B&R national gifts took three whole months. It was then and only then that the painstaking process of carving each piece could begin.
The designers from the Beijing Gongmei Group who worked on this exquisitely-made gift package, also worked on the Zun of Peace, which the Chinese government presented to the UN in 2015.
According to the Beijing Gongmei Group, the design team started planning the gifts a month prior to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum held in Beijing in November 2014.
In an interview with the Beijing Evening News on Tuesday, Guo Ming, head of the design team, said that his team came up with around 200 drafts before they decided upon the final versions of the gifts.