by Feng Yingqiu
YANGON, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar has vowed to accomplish a mission to salvage an invaluable enormous ancient bell which remained under water as a mystery for four centuries.
The Historical Research Department of the Ministry of Culture and SD Mark International LLP Co of Singapore organized a workshop on Saturday to seek suggestions, means and action programs for the successful salvaging of the 520-year-old Dhammazedi Bell.
Domestic and foreign researchers and experts presented 10 papers on historical events in connection with the bell, records about the bell from foreign archives, research on its location, search, excavation and salvaging technology including that of moving and transporting the bell.
Participants intend to adopt practical action plan, apply appropriate techniques, acquire modern machines and equipment for every specific job and form working committees.
The Singaporean company offered a non-profit project involving the task of finding and salvaging the bell at a cost of up to 10 million U.S. dollars to convey it back to the Shwedagon Pagoda and hand it over to Myanmar.
Means are also being sought for the salvaging work without adverse impact on natural water course, navigation and environment.
Research work in Panahlwe region where Bago River, Yangon River and Ngamoeyeik Creek meet will be conducted.
According to historical record, the Dhammazedi Bell was cast with 290 tons of an alloy of copper, gold, silver and tin.
Comparatively, the Dhammazedi Bell is much heavier than the 128- ton bell in Moscow said to be the largest in the world.
The Dhammazedi Bell, the largest of its kind ever cast in the world, has many things to offer as its engraved writing from top to bottom will provide useful historical facts and one can study Myanmar's ancient art of metal casting.
The colonial governor of Thanlyin took away the bell from the platform of Shwedagon Pagoda with the intention of casting it into cannons in 1612. On the way to Thanlyin, the great bell fell from the raft and sank into Panahlwe River at the mouth of Ngamoeyeik Creek.
It remained lying at the bottom of a muddy confluence for four centuries and hiding from explorers trying to spot its exact location for salvage.
Many previous attempts to bring back the Dhammazedi Bell to its original place were unsuccessful due to the reasons including the existence of a number of shipwrecks in the area, poor visibility and 400 years of changing water currents and courses coupled with other natural forces such as low and high tide and silting.
Truly speaking, the task of searching and salvaging the 290-ton ancient bell is easier said than done as it is a gigantic mission involving a lot of hidden difficulties, problems and complex matters as well as firm commitment plus intellectual, technological, financial and human resources for achieving success.