Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Reviving 15th Century Melaka

BERNAMA – A private miniature art gallery in Selangor is showcasing an intricate diorama created by a group of miniature artists, vividly capturing the essence of 15th-Century Melaka.

Spanning 13 metres, this detailed exhibit illustrates the golden age of the Melaka Sultanate with over 700 miniatures depicting a diverse society in traditional attire. The display also features meticulously crafted replicas of palaces, houses, and transportation systems, complete with animals like elephants and oxen.

The diorama, which took three years to build, also includes several replica trading ships, similar to those used by traders from China and Melaka, showcasing the trading relationship between the Melaka Sultanate and China that began in the 15th Century, during the height of Melaka’s prominence as one of the most important ports in the region.

Founder of the WCO Art and Culture Gallery Foo Loke Kee said the diorama is one of the artworks featured in the Malaysia-China Diplomatic Relations Miniature Exhibition, held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

According to Foo, the diorama project, which began in 2020, required extensive research, combined with the expertise, talent and creativity of miniature artists from various backgrounds and skill sets.

“The craftsmen came from diverse backgrounds, each possessing unique skills. For instance, Malay and Chinese artisans worked together on this project. The palace, houses and ships were crafted by carpenter Mohd Zain Abd Aziz, the miniature figures by Helen Chua and other miniatures by Lai Pui Sun,” said Foo in a recent Bernama interview.

For model ship enthusiasts, he also highlighted four ship replicas: a 15th-Century (warship) Galleass, the Baochuan (treasure ship), a Chinese Junk, and a Chinese Tongkang, illustrating maritime activities and trade with China in the Straits of Melaka.

“This diorama, taken as a whole, highlights the trading activities between merchants from China and Melaka, providing an illustration of the economic relationship established since the 15th Century,” he concluded.

The miniature art gallery depicting the golden era of 15th Century Melaka. PHOTO: BERNAMA
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