Infant Buddha found in Australia originated from Ming Dynasty, expert says

An infant Buddha found in 2018 was recently confirmed as dating back to the Ming Dynasty with an estimated value of $119,310.

The artifact was discovered along a roadside in Shark Bay, Western Australia. 

Shayne Thomson recorded video of the find after using a metal detector. Thomson runs FINN films with Leon Deschamps. 

"This is pretty amazing, it seems old," Thomson said in the video. "I don’t know the history behind that, we’ll find out, we’ll do some research."

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Deschamps and the infant Buddha recently appeared on an episode of BBC’s Antiques Roadshow.  Lee Young, a Managing Director of Dore and Rees auctioneers who specializes in Asian Art, confirmed that the object originated from the Ming Dynasty, dating its origin between 1368 and 1644.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the "most exciting possible explanation for the object’s presence in WA is that it came on the 1421 Ming treasure voyage," which "could mean the Chinese visited the region almost 200 years before Dutchman Dirk Hartog landed in 1616." 

Another possible explanation was that "it arrived in the 150 or so years since the 1870s, when the Chinese are first known to have come to the northwest coast."

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"In the last four years, it has cost us significant personal capital and time to be able to investigate and protect the Buddha appropriately," Deschamps wrote in a statement to Storyful. Breaking down the fees, Deschamps added that "it makes our investment in time and capital well over $100K, which is how we have now decided to set our reserve for the auction."

Storyful contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.