Diplomatic Gifts

The Wende’s collection of state gifts to the German Democratic Republic focuses on two decades of diplomatic relations. During the 1970s and 1980s, East Germany sought to expand its international reach beyond the communist world. At one time, these state gifts were proudly displayed as ‘special inventory’ in the Museum für Deutsche Geschichte (Museum for German History) in East Berlin, known today as the Deutsches Historisches Museum (German Historical Museum). They include an elaborate Vietnamese wood carving, a chess set from the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (South-Yemen), a mother-of-pearl box presented by PLO-leader Yasser Arafat, an abalone shell ashtray from the Philippines, an ox horn carving of a shrimp with its original red box from China, silver double horn from Somalia and a metal plate with the Ba'ath Party flag, donated by Iraq's leader Saddam Hussein. These artifacts were acquired from various institutions and, in certain cases, the original recipients of the gifts.