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Chinese Model Railroad, Carved of Ivory, at a Crossroads

An intricately carved model of China’s Chengdu-Kunming Railroad bridge graced the United Nations' New York headquarters for nearly four decades, until renovation of its General Assembly began in 2013 and the sculpture was removed for safekeeping. There’s a good chance it may never return. The model train has been sidetracked to the U.N. Chinese mission because it carries the baggage of having been carved from ivory, a substance that has fallen into disfavor. An international trade...

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