The State Department has just released what it calls, officially: "Office of the Chief of Protocol; Gifts to Federal Employees from Foreign Government Sources Reported to Employing Agencies in Calendar Year 2009." In other words: Barack Obama's gift list. It's sort of like a bridal shower wherein the maid of honor is forced to transcribe which president, prime minister, or religious leader gave what. To celebrate such matters of global importance, we count down the 10 most ridiculous-sounding home-decor gifts the President received in 2009.
10: Porcelain sculpture of five oxen; value, $1,200. From President of China Hu Jintao.
9: Six decorative ceremonial weapons presented in a glass case; value, $1,265. From King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein, King of Jordan.
8: Bronze statue of a girl releasing a flock of doves; value, $8,000. From Shimon Peres, President of Israel.
7: Large cream-colored rug with fringes; value, $2,500. From Asif Ali Zardari, President of Pakistan.
6: Large crystal table with an image of the American Flag; value, $6,000. From Silvio Berlusconi, President of Italy.
5: Gilt framed and matted mosaic depicting St. Peter’s Square and
decorative gold coin with the inscription ‘‘Benedict XVI Pont
Max Anno IV’’; part of a larger bundle with a total value of $7,905. From Pope Benedict XVI.
4: Silver box imprinted with the insignia of the Kingdom of Thailand; value, $450. From Abhisit Vejjajiva, Prime Minister of Thailand.
3: Large silver vase with images of palm trees and sphinxes; Iraqi
soccer team jersey. Total value, $675. From Nouri al-Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq.
2: Two handwoven decorative rugs; one framed portrait of a woman wearing a green dress; one framed portrait depicting two women and a man surrounded by birds. Total value, $1,850. From Jalal Talaban, President of Iraq.
1: Large desert scene on a green veined marble base featuring miniature figurines of gold palm trees and camels; large gold medallion with the Royal seal in a green leather display box; large brass and glass clock by Jaeger-LeCoultre in a green leather display case. Total value, $34,500. From Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia.
· Federal Register [U.S. Department of State]