The Great Wave Off Kanagawa From “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji”; 1823-29; Color woodcut, 25.7 cm × 37.8 cm (10.1 in × 14.9 in)
Katsushika Hokusai (葛飾 北斎, September 23, 1760 – May 10, 1849), Japanese painter and wood engraver, born in Edo (now Tokyo), is considered one of the outstanding figures of the Ukiyo-e, or “pictures of the floating world” (everyday life), school of printmaking.
The Costa Concordia was a floating luxury hotel and many of the passengers embarked on the cruise with their finest clothes and jewels, to parade them in casinos and at gala dinners beneath towering chandeliered ceilings. In the chaotic and sudden evacuation of the Costa Concordia, passengers and crew abandoned almost everything on board the cruise ship: cash, antiques, jewels, and thousands of art objects. On top of that was the massive wealth belonging to the ship itself: elegant shops stocked with jewelry, more than 6,000 works of art decorating walls.
The wellness spa alone of the Costa Concordia contained a collection of 300-year-old woodblock Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei (富嶽三十六景?)) prints by Katsushika Hokusai, a Japanese artist most famous for his work of a giant wave framing Mount Fuji in the distance.
Among the sunken objects are furniture, the vast art collection, champagne, as well as whatever valuables were locked away in safes in private cabins, the Costa Crociere press office said.
Hans Reinhardt, a German lawyer who represents 19 German passengers seeking compensation for their losses said some of his customers traveled with diamond-studded jewels and other heirlooms that had been in their families for generations.
Now, a veritable treasure lies beneath the pristine Italian waters where the luxury liner ran aground, at the mercy of treasure hunters.
It could just be a question of time before anyone from common thieves and treasure hunters to underwater well-organized teams run by the Mafia specialised in recovering sunken objects try to steal it.
After the Costa Concordia ran aground, authorities immediately passed a decree preventing anyone from coming within a nautical mile of the wreck.
“The ship is being guarded 24 hours a day. It’s not possible to even get close,” said Lt. Massimo Maccheroni, a Coast Guard official.