The Story So Far

The Australian Baby Buddha was discovered in late 2018 on a public main roadside near the town of Denham in Shark Bay, WA and was reported to police.

“One moment can change a day, one day can change a life and one life can change the world.”


Expert Research

The team has undertaken extensive research to validate the authenticity and origin of the Baby Buddha.

The buddha’s discovery and excavation was recorded by phone camera which clearly showed the location.

Subsequent microscopic analysis of the soil attached to the Buddha through corrosion by fellow of the WA Museum Dr Ian McLeod confirmed the location and length of time in situ effectively authenticating the object as a legitimate Ming Dynasty artefact.

A Statutory declaration was made with local police stating the find location was on public land. The site currently remains secret and is also protected by motion sensor cameras.

It is our hope the Australian Government will work with the Chinese community and local Indigenous custodians to co-fund an Archaeological dig at the site to help further investigate the origins of the Buddha. Should the Baby Buddha be purchased by a Chinese Museum or custodian part funds will be used to fund this excavation. It’s important to note that this story is only a positive one telling the history of the journeys of incredibly brave sailors along ancient trade routes.

It is categorically NOT a European colonial style object used to claim land tenure as Buddhist’s don’t believe in possession of wealth. This has been reinforced strongly in all our dealings with Chinese academics.

Feedback from Elders within both the local and broader Western Australian indigenous community is that the Infant Buddha is a culturally sensitive and extremely sacred artefact made for a Chinese family who devoted centuries to its worship and as such should find a home with them.

Australia has a history of European museums stealing sacred Australian aboriginal ceremonial treasures and artefacts including the human skeletal remains of their ancestors. There is still significant generational trauma over those misappropriations.

Sacred objects belong with the communities they are sacred to.

We do not consider ourselves owners of the Infant Buddha but rather custodians and we have done our utmost to show this sacred object the respect it deserves.

In the last four years it has cost us significant personal capital and time to be able to investigate and protect the Buddha appropriately. The Buddha is currently offshore in an expensive high security private commercial location.

We want it to find a home with a culturally appropriate owner who will hopefully publicly display the Buddha in either Australia or China.

This was our main reason for seeking out the expert’s advice on Antiques Roadshow. To maximise our chances of finding an appropriate new custodian.

At the time of the discovery and continuously over the last almost half a decade, (the Buddha was discovered in 2018) whilst investigating the Buddha’s origins we have voluntarily and proactively liaised with, WAPOL, DBCA, the Shark Bay Shire, our local State government minister, the WA Maritime Museum, DPI, the West Australian Chinese Friendship Association, the Chinese Museum of Australia, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia, Sheng Hua Media, WA Today, The West Australian Newspaper Group, Australian Archaeologists and Malgana elders (who we also took for a private site survey with an archaeologist also present).

We have in no way tried to keep this incredible discovery a secret and have been transparent in all our actions as we asked for help to unravel this mystery.

On this journey we have had many rejections.

We ignored them all. We are not wealthy men. But we put a priceless value on our great nations multicultural history.

As such we spent our own money, our own families money on doing the research necessary to authenticate this world treasure. Research that we hoped would help find an appropriate custodian for this world treasure.

If we had not continued with our self funded research then this discovery would never have been confirmed as a priceless antiquity and an incredible and proud part of Australia and China’s shared regional history.

Our extensive research has now confirmed the Buddha as being approximately 400-500 years old. Twice the age of Modern Australia.

The forensic microscopic corrosion tests (which have been published and are open to any scientific scrutiny) show it was buried subsurface at the exact location of its roadside discovery for at least 150 years and conclusively could not have been buried recently or “planted”.

The road verge however is in a geologically turbulent area close to coastal sand dunes that large cyclonic tidal surges and strong prevailing coastal winds effect substantially. It therefore could have been buried and uncovered several times by these natural geographical forces over the centuries making it possible the object lay at the location undisturbed by human hand much longer than the 150 years it was buried sub surface. The area in question has been completely levelled by Cyclone Hazel, removing, replacing and restructuring two and three metre high dune systems in the 1970’s..

Our research has now categorically confirmed that the Baby Buddha is in fact a Solid Bronze and Gold Gilt Ming Dynasty Infant Buddha made with the Lost Wax method over four centuries ago.

We have also discovered (via world renowned Asian Art expert, Mr Lee Young of Antiques Roadshow) that a very similar Buddha exists in the current Emperor’s Imperial Collection in China. This means it is a high status object likely crafted for a Chinese Emperor.

How it came to be in Australia perhaps can only be confirmed by further archaeological excavations at the site where it was discovered however as we also found a gold, ruby and pearl “pirates earing” at the site it is possible that the Buddha may well be part of a larger cache.

We realised the significance of the object immediately upon excavation and as amateur historians called our exploratory excavations to a halt immediately with the hope we could find experts to help us.

We have at present not excavated more than twenty centimetres deep.

Since the discovery of the Baby Buddha there have been MANY scholars who have questioned whether this could finally be the definitive proof that Zheng He and his famous treasure fleet visited Australian shores in the 1420’s. It is for this reason that we wish to see Baby Buddha return home to China.

We are now working with the 1421 Foundation based in the UK to continue their forensic historical and scientific scrutiny of this incredible journey from Ming Dynasty China to first contact Australia and back home to China once more. 

The 1421 Research Education and Exploration Foundation

Our aim is to foster in all people a desire to explore the world, to participate in exploration and discovery with others, and through collaboration make those discoveries that help all of us…

We are travelling to China towards the end of April 2024 to meet with several potential new custodians for the Baby Buddha who can help us shed further light on the Ming Treasure Fleets early exploration. If you would like to meet us whilst we are in China please use our contact form below. 

No matter what the origin of the Australian Infant Buddha it has been categorically confirmed as the OLDEST Chinese artefact to ever be discovered in Australian history.

Of even greater importance is that as a Chinese and Asian art object the Buddha is potentially globally unique due to its missing index fingers.

Microscopic forensic scrutiny and 3D scans have revealed that it never had any metallic fingers so scientists (Fellow of the WA Museum Dr Ian McLeod) and art historians (Mr Lee Young) have led us to believe that the fingers (which are potentially still present at the site) would have been made from rubies, diamonds, jade or ivory.

This unique customisation makes this Buddha the only example of its kind from the Ming Dynasty with precious or semi precious stones used as forefingers.

In our four year journey we have been contacted by many Australians with stories of finding incredible and inexplicable treasures that have not been reported to government for this reason and our upcoming documentary will shine a light on some of these incredible discoveries that challenge our understanding of modern Australia. We have had conversations with DISNEY, NETFLIX and ABC Australia all of whom have shown interest in sharing this amazing story with the world.

We are currently planning on travelling to China in April to meet with several new potential custodians of the Baby Buddha.

It is our desire to see the Baby Buddha used as an object of diplomacy between our two great nations. A object that tells the story of the sea faring nation of China and its first contacts with the proud saltwater Aboriginal Nations of Australia. Depending on any funding agreements we negotiate with future custodians, we hope to use part proceeds, to help fund initiatives to help protect our local cultural heritage sites both indigenous and Chinese and European.

It is also our dream to continue to support the new local Malgana Sea Rangers initiative on their journey to protect cultural sites within our home, specifically by using our vessels to map their “Aboriginal Atlantis”, the many many sacred sites that were flooded in the last ten thousand years by sea level rise. This was the dream of our good friend Nick, a Malgana traditional owner who was the first person to ever see the Baby Buddha after we discovered it.

It was Nick’s advice that it was a sacred object and that we should treat it with the respect it deserved that started us on this incredible journey and we hope to honour his memory and his love of his saltwater nation by getting even more protections of ALL the cultural sites that tell the story of this land. We also hope to be involved in providing replicas of Baby Buddha, our research catalogues and possibly funding for future museum exhibits using our 3D scan data.

We have proven that the Baby Buddha is the oldest and most precious Asian artifact to ever be uncovered in Australian history, but many of its mysteries are far from solved.

We hope that our journey of discovery in the years to come will help bring our two great nations of China and Australia closer together.

For further information or should you have any potential suggestions on appropriate Chinese Buddhist custodians of the Australian Baby Buddha or any interest in helping us in person and joining our crew on future archaeological expeditions to uncover its mysteries then please contact us.