Treasures from the sea

Oriental arts gallery

By Christina Low - The Star Online

Not many of us get excited about unearthed treasures from sunken shipwrecks, but for some it is a passion that promises a lifelong of fun and mystery.

For Zalifah Azman it is akin to unlocking the secrets to an unknown era and time.

At an exhibition at the Oriental Arts gallery in Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur showcasing interesting artifacts found in a sunken shipwreck from the Ming Dynasty, Zalifah has interesting stories to share.

She took us for a short tour of the ceramic artifacts and shipwreck exhibition from the Lena Cargo collection.

“It is not easy to excavate these ceramic ware, it takes time to get down to the seabed and unearth them,” said Zalifah, who had done plenty of research on such artifacts and feels it is like owning a piece of history.

“Back then, some even died trying to take these treasures back to land,” said Zalifah, who was put in charge to educate and assist those visiting the exhibition.

Ceramics from the Lena cargo junk was brought back to shore in 1997 near the Lena Shoal reef in Palawan, Philippines.

Although it was not certain where Lena was heading exactly, the experts said the Chinese junk sailed from the port of Guangzhou, China and was possibly headed to Anam and Siam.

She was most likely sailing north towards the Philippines before it sank around the 1490s during the Ming Dynasty era under Emperor Hong Zi.