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Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan hosted French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron in Xi'an, northwest China's Shaanxi Province on January 8.

Xi'an was the first stop of Macron's three-day state visit to China, his first trip to Asia this year.

The group visited the Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum, the ancient Wild Goose Pagoda, the Xi'an Great Mosque and the local Daming Palace Park.

Macron thanked the hosts for their considerate arrangements and delivered a speech at the Park. He said he was impressed by China's majestic sights and rich cultural heritage, and expressed his wishes to visit China at least once every year.

Xi and Peng received the guests at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing later that day. The couples visited Taihedian, Zhonghedian and Baohedian, the three main halls of the Forbidden City on January 9.

Afterwards, Peng and Brigitte Macron visited the National Museum. Curators introduced them to Square Zun with Four Sheep, a special bronze statue from the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600 B.C. –1046 B.C.).

The French First Lady noted that she was born in the year of the sheep. "It is a good sign to see the bronze statue, and I believe something good will happen in the future," she explained.

Whilst examining Chinese ancient drinking vessels, Peng said that both China and France have a long history of drinking. In addition, most of China's liquor is made from grain, just like in France.

The pair also watched a set of bianzhong (China's ancientbells) at the museum. Peng analyzed the difference of rhythms between China and the West.

Brigitte Macron was wowed by the collection of Terracotta Warriors at the museum. She exchanged opinions with Peng on the soldier and horse figures and asked why various images of horses are found in so many of China's ancient artworks.

Peng briefed Brigitte on the implied meaning of the horse in Chinese history and its significance in China's national spirit. Peng also introduced some idioms concerning horses. After leaving the museum, Brigitte said she was impressed by the Chinese images of horse and dragon, adding that she was interested in Chinese culture.

Macron's Chinese name contains the elements of horse and dragon, which have auspicious meaning in Chinese culture. During the visit, the French couple mentioned the word 'horse' several times. They presented President Xi Jinping with a picture of horse as a national gift at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse and hoped to further enhance the bilateral relations between China and France.

Macron gave Xi a horse of the elite French Republican Guard as a gift. This particular choice, an "unprecedented diplomatic gesture" according to the French presidency, was made after the Chinese president expressed his fascination for the horsemen who escorted him during his visit to Paris in 2014.

It is the first time France has offered one of the elite cavalry corps' horses. It is also a response to China's "panda diplomacy".

Peng gave the guests Chinese traditional tools for writing and drawing, which were engraved with the names of several students. Xi also presented them with a copy of thefilm Kite, which was co-produced by China and France in the 1950s.

Peng and Brigitte both wore Chinese-style clothing during the State dinner, showing the collision of culture between China and France.



(Source: China Women's News/ Translated and edited by Women of China)