Friday, December 03, 2004


Exhibition of Tang cargo treasure in Singapore in June 2005


Channel NewsAsia
By Farah Abdul Rahim

SINGAPORE : Some 400 pieces from the Tang cargo treasure will be exhibited in Singapore in June. They are part of 60,000 pieces that were salvaged from what is believed to be the oldest shipwreck found so far in Southeast Asia.

On show is a replica of the boat which carried Chinese ceramics and even gold. It was on its way to the Middle East, but never made it there as it hit a reef between Sumatra and Borneo.

The treasure stayed under the sea till 1998 and was salvaged by German Tilman Walterfang. The pieces were painstakingly restored over five years at the cost of millions. Each piece tells its own story - like a jug which could not be salvaged due to monsoon rain, but was later looted by pirates.

Finally, Mr Tilman bought the piece back for an undisclosed sum. These are just some of the displays that will be on show in Singapore come June. But Sentosa Leisure Group, which is organising the exhibition, has not decided if the event will be held on the resort island or otherwise.

Mr Alvin Chia, Assistant Director (Attractions Development) of Sentosa Leisure Group, said: "A collection of this importance transcends beyond Sentosa. It is more a product for the nation than for Sentosa. "Therefore we want to bring it out to the masses, whether it stays on Sentosa or if it is brought out for exhibition outside sentosa is irrelevant.

"We now see ourselves as able to develop attractions beyond Sentosa Island and we want to be more open to manage attractions outside of Sentosa."

The reassurance from Sentosa is that when the exhibition comes to town, it will be accessible and affordable to all - from the man-in-the-street to students - so they can also go back in time and check out the Tang cargo treasure. - CNA

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