Monday, September 05, 2005


Interest in artefacts draw heritage buffs to symposium


The Star
September 03, 2005

KUALA LUMPUR: People were coming in as early as Wednesday to see artefacts salvaged from shipwrecks, even though the Treasures of the Nanhai exhibition only opened yesterday.

“That is how interested Malaysians have become in learning about the country’s heritage,” said organising committee member Mimi Kolandai.

“And the timing (for the exhibition) is just perfect, right after National Day when people are feeling nostalgic.”

The treasures of Nanhai (South China Sea) are artefacts salvaged from nine shipwreck sites off the east coast of peninsula Malaysia which date back to the Song (960-1279), Yuan (1279-1368), Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties.

The exhibition-cum-sale of artefacts is being held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre until Sept 11.

In conjunction with this showcase, a symposium on the Nanhai artefacts was held here yesterday, attended by over 70 artefact enthusiasts ranging from young people just starting their collection to those who have travelled the world in search of antiques.

“There is a growing interest in artefacts among Malaysians,” said main symposium speaker Sten Sjostrand from Sweden, who is managing director of Nanhai Marine Archaeology Sdn Bhd, an organisation that researches and recovers artefacts from shipwrecks.

“I’m very encouraged to see people turning up, willing to learn about antiques and buying the ones on sale,” said Sjostrand, a naval architect who has been carrying out research in South-East Asia for 30 years and scouring the South China Sea in the past 15 years for artefacts and shipwreck sites.

Economics major Foo Teen Wyne, 23, who was at the symposium, said: “It’s educational to find out about artefacts that are a part of our country’s heritage.”

Other speakers at the symposium were Dr Valerie Esterhuizen, a retired curator from South Africa; Dr Roxanna Brown, an expert on trade ceramics and shipwrecks from the United States; Prof Cao Jianwen, an expert on ancient ceramics from China; and Shamsul Sahar, curator for the Museums and Antiquities Department in Malaysia.


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