Australian Baby Buddha Returns to China: A Historic Journey Home

The Australian “Baby Buddha”, a significant archaeological find in regional Western Australia back in 2018, has had us enthralled for the last 6 years. This solid bronze and gold-gilt Ming Dynasty Infant Buddha, unearthed by metal detectorists near Denham in Shark Bay, is now preparing for a historic journey back to its ancestral roots in China.

The Buddha’s unique features, such as the missing precious stone index fingers, set it apart as a potentially singular Ming Dynasty artifact. Years of invaluable research by its founders, as well as insights from Dr. Ian McLeod of the WA Museum, provide fascinating scientific input on the Baby Buddha’s composition, age, and the intricate details of its craftsmanship. The forensic research and microscopic analysis have unveiled captivating details about its construction and historical context.

Global Recognition and Acclaim

Renowned figures in the art world, including Mr. Lee Young of BBC's ‘Antiques Roadshow,’ have showered praise on the Baby Buddha, labelling it as a priceless world treasure. Its comparison to similar artifacts in the Chinese Imperial Collection highlights its exceptional rarity and cultural value.

Cultural Significance

Celebrated as a guest of honour at the Western Australian Parliament and endorsed by the Chinese Museum of Australia as the oldest Chinese relic ever discovered in Australian history, the Baby Buddha stands as a testament to the enduring ties between two nations. Its role as a bridge between Australian and Chinese heritage is a story of shared history and mutual respect.

Fuxi International Auction House, Spring Auction in Hong Kong, June 27th and 28th 2024.

The Baby Buddha is embarking on its journey back to China, inviting new possibilities for further research, cultural exchange, and historical exploration. The ongoing efforts to safeguard and promote this treasured relic by finding it a new custodian, pave the way for future generations to connect with its profound legacy.

For the 1421 Foundation, the idea that the Baby Buddha could have been left by shipwrecked explorers from Zheng He’s fleet is hugely exciting. The find contributes to the debate on who first discovered Australia, with the statue potentially indicating a Chinese presence on the continent prior to the Dutch arrival in the 17th century.

Read more about the Buddha’s remarkable story here. Also see the following links: Antiques Roadshow; News.Com.Au; Guancha; The Guardian, UK; The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

Please share this news far and wide, and let us know if you want to find out more.

Warm wishes,

Ian and the 1421 Foundation Team


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