NewsBuddha from the beach, two friends stumble upon $100,000 Ming Dynasty artifact in Australia

Buddha from the beach, two friends stumble upon $100,000 Ming Dynasty artifact in Australia

The statuette is worth a fortune.
The statuette is worth a fortune.
Images source: © Youtube

10:47 AM EST, January 11, 2024

In 2018, Leon Dechamps and Shayne Thomson visited Shark Bay's coast in Australia. Armed with a metal detector, they serendipitously discovered a small Buddha figure, oblivious to the fact that they had unearthed a genuine treasure.

Beachside fortune

Following five years and numerous expert analyses, it was determined that the Buddha figure hailing from the beach of the Indian Ocean has its origins in China from the Ming Dynasty period.

The petite Buddha statue made from bronze dates most likely back to the 15th century. A specialist in Asian art validated that the item could fetch a price of up to $100,000.

"I was astounded when I discovered it was from the Ming Dynasty. This makes it the oldest Chinese artifact in Australian history," Dechamps stated on the Antiques Roadshow program.

Upon discovering the figure, the friends endeavored to uncover how it ended up on the beach. Various services and institutions were consulted, including the Maritime Museum of Western Australia, the ambassador in China, antique dealers, art historians, various Chinese associations, and independent archaeologists.

The statue likely arrived in Australia in the 15th century during Admiral Zheng He's global voyages, which included the Indian Ocean basin. Another theory posits that it was brought to Australia by Chinese traders in the 19th century. Similar statues were fairly popular and were crafted to commemorate Buddha's birthdays.

According to Australian law, the statue belongs to the finders. The figure is flawed, missing several elements, which were possibly deliberately removed and replaced with a more prestigious material such as ivory.

No other Chinese or Ming Dynasty-related items were discovered on the beach. However, Dechamps and Thompson are hopeful that they will find the missing portions of the Buddha statue in the future.

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