Official list includes sculpture of a horse covered in jewels from Saudi king and two gold-plated mechanical birds from Qatar emir. A sculpture of a horse covered in jewels and two gold-plated mechanical birds were among the most elaborate gifts presented to the US president by Gulf leaders during 2015, it has been revealed. Barack Obama has published a list of gifts he received last year, which also included 36 inch sword with handle made of mother-of-pearl and gold. Nearly all of the gifts were turned over to the government, as employees aren’t allowed to keep items they receive in their official capacity.
The horse sculpture presented to Obama by Saudi King Salman in September 2015 was made from gold-plated sterling silver, diamonds, tsavorites, yellow sapphires, rubies and obsidian mounted on a rotating, piano-black lacquer base. Its value, along with a chronometer, a set of golf clubs and a golf bag, was estimated at nearly $523,000, the list said.
It was by far the most expensive gift given last year, according to documents published by the US State Department. It added that the gold-plated bird clock mechanisms worth $110,000 each were presented by Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir of Qatar. The emir of Qatar gave the Obamas two gold-plated bird clock mechanisms worth $110,000 (£90,000) each. Other gifts presented to the US president last year included a $1,040 framed painting from Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and a sterling silver coffee pot with beaded handle plus six small porcelain coffee cups from Sayyid Fahd Bin Mahmoud Al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers of Oman. The list also showed that Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait, presented Obama with a $42,000 silver-coated resin sculpture of camels and Bedouin on a green marble base while Qatar’s Emir also gifted a silver bowl with the Qatari insignia in the centre worth $6,500.
Also on the official 2015 gifts list was a $10,000 sterling silver sphere that opens to display a clock under a magnifying glass on a wooden pedestal from Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince of Bahrain. Obama’s wife Michelle was also the recipient of gifts from Gulf leaders last year including a commemorative coin from the 5th anniversary of the Emir of Kuwait’s reign, a pink robe with golden embroidery and a case of six small gold-plated silver coins issued by the Central Bank of Kuwait. Qatar’s emir also gift her six porcelain plates with hand-painted designs of birds, butterflies, and flowers, applied with polished 24-carat gold worth nearly $7,000.
Sources: QGN, Arabian News, BBC.