Medieval medallion found in baby shark in Malaysia

22 February 2012 - 12:06 By Sapa-dpa

A medieval medallion, believed to be from the 11th century, was found in the stomach of a baby shark in southern Malaysia, a news report said Wednesday.

A baby bamboo shark swims over a coral reef. File photo.
A baby bamboo shark swims over a coral reef. File photo.
Image: AFP PHOTO / Christophe ARCHAMBAULT
A baby bamboo shark swims over a coral reef. File photo.
A baby bamboo shark swims over a coral reef. File photo.
Image: AFP PHOTO / Christophe ARCHAMBAULT

The medallion, engraved with a profile of a woman on one side and a crucifix with inscription ANTONII on the other side, was recovered Tuesday by a housewife while cleaning the fish to be cooked.

The artifact was believed to have been worn by Portuguese soldiers, who colonized Malaysia in 1511, for divine protection.

Suseela Menon, 47, a resident of Klebang town in the state of Malacca, about 120 kilometres south of Kuala Lumpur, said she was cleaning the shark she bought from the market when she saw the medallion inside its stomach.

She said that her husband decided not to eat the fish since he believed the medallion could have a religious significance.

"My husband feels it is a blessing for the family to have a medallion coming to our home from beneath the sea," she told the Star newspaper. "We will always cherish it."

A local historian in Malacca said the profile could be that of Queen Elizabeth, the wife of King Denis I of Portugal during his reign from 1271 to 1325.

The medallion was 7.4 centimetres long and 6 centimetres wide, and weighed about 10 grams, the report said.