Ancient Artifacts That Mysteriously Disappeared
In the late 15th century, Myanmar was an enlightened nation. Under the reign of King Dhammazedi, a former Buddhist monk, the country reached a pinnacle in antiquity during the Golden Age – complete with treasures to match. Cast in the 15th Century, the Great Dhammazedi Bell was, according to popular legend, placed alongside the gleaming gold Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar.
Said to be the largest bell ever made, the Great Bell is said to measure roughly 20 feet by 13 feet and was cast from 294 tons of metal, including silver, gold, copper and tin. It was engraved with a script described by a visiting foreigner as indecipherable language covering the entire surface.
In the 16th Century, European explorers began to make contacts in Lower Burma and the Portuguese warlord and mercenary Filipe de Brito e Nicole was one of them. This adventurer worked for the rival Arakanese culture and led a force that sacked the cities of Syriam and Pegu, the capital of Lower Myanmar. He was appointed by the King of Arakan as the governor of Syria and by 1600, had extended his power across Myanmar.
After declaring independence from the Arakan King, in 1608 De Brito and his men removed the Dhammazedi Bell from the Shwedagon Pagoda, intending to melt it down to make a massive cannon. After rolling it down a hill, they placed it on a waiting raft on Pazundaung Creek. Unfortunately, the bell was far heavier than De Brito could have imagined and whilst travelling along the river, the bell disappeared under the waters and has never been seen since.
Many rescue attempts to retrieve the bell have been unsuccessful. There are at least three other shipwrecks in that area, and with the water muddy and the seabed soft, there is near-zero visibility.
The Great Bell is a significant part of Myanmar’s history and religion and after its disappearance, many civic and government leaders believe that if the bell can be found and recovered, it will usher in a new age of prosperity for Myanmar...