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Etiquette Of Giving

The good Chinese gift-giving guide, from dragons to coffins

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In Chinese business and diplomacy, the right gift is the key to being taken seriously. This mindset explains why Chinese art has produced such a dizzying array of intricate decorative objects, using bone carving or inlaid enamel. Particular care is taken with the symbolic meaning of the imagery chosen. Thus, gifts given to foreign leaders by the Chinese government come with layers of meaning.
One company is tasked with making these diplomatic overtures come to life: the Chinese Arts and Applied Crafts Corporation of Beijing. RTD sits in on a commissioning meeting and watches designers and artists as they choose and create the perfect diplomatic gift. They also explain the pitfalls involved in selecting a gift without giving offence, and the pros and cons of dragons, from a Chinese point of view.



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