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.”
appeared last month at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida, along with Mr. Trump himself.
It remains to be seen whether Mr. Trump’s legacy as artistic muse will be as enduring as, say, Mao Zedong’s. It may depend on Mr. Trump’s political future. Trump 2024 merchandise is already available online.
Mr. Hong considers the Trump Buddha a work in progress. He said the wrinkles on Mr. Trump’s lips are too deep, creating an effect incongruous with his vision. He said he has given no thought of creating a sculpture of Mr. Biden, though he is fascinated by another prominent American entrepreneur, Elon Musk.
He has set aside the first of 100 numbered pieces of the larger works for a particular patron. If possible, he said, he would like to give one to Mr. Trump.