There is no shortage of merchandise in China devoted to the former president of the United States, Donald J. Trump. There are commemorative coins, toilet brushes and cat toys; countless figurines, including updated versions of Mount Rushmore, plus all those flags, bumper stickers and hats from campaigns past and future. (Does anyone still believe all that “Make America Great Again” stuff was really made in America?)
Enter the Trump Buddha.
A furniture maker and decorator in southern China has cast a sculpture of Mr. Trump in ceramic whiteware, his legs crossed and hands serenely resting in his lap. He is draped in a monk’s robes, his head is lowered and his eyes are closed, as if in meditative repose, an emotional state not typically associated with the 45th president of the United States.
The artist calls it “Trump, the Buddha of Knowing of the Western Paradise.”
“He has been already very successful, but now he is still tormenting himself, being obsessed, having a lot of ideas and doubts,” the creator, Hong Jinshi, said when asked about his inspiration.
Mr. Hong’s sculpture reflects an abiding cultural fascination with Mr. Trump in China that began with his election. Many admired his brash style, his family’s business ties to China and even his early courtship of China’s leader, Xi Jinping, whom he called “an incredible guy.”
Admiration for Mr. Trump in China arguably peaked during his visit to Beijing in 2017. Since then, his image has soured along with relations with the United States. The fraying of those ties was exacerbated by a
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