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The world watched this week as two important Korean cultural artifacts headed to auction for the first time. Earlier this month, the Kansong Art Museum in Seoul announced plans to deaccession two ancient works of art from its collection. It hoped that revenues from their sale would provide some much-needed cash. Yet the two cultural artifacts failed to draw any bids, let alone achieve a record price on January 27, 2022. Even though the objects could not legally leave South Korea, The Korea Herald reports that the sale was controversial from the start. National Treasure No. 73, Portable Shrine of Gilt-Bronze Buddha Triad. Image courtesy of K Auction. The offered artifacts are known as the Portable Shrine of Gilt-Bronze Buddha Triad and the Gilt-Bronze Standing Buddha Triad with Inscription of Gyemi Year. The former dates back to the 11th or 12th century, and it had a presale estimate of KRW 28 billion to ₩40 billion (USD 23.6 million - $33.7 million). The latter Standing Buddha Triad may have been carried by 6th-century Buddhist monks for protection. It had an estimate of ₩32 billion to ₩45 billion ($26.6 million - $37.3 million). The relics will return to the Kansong Art and Culture Foundation after failing to sell at auction. Both Korean cultural artifacts are “national treasures,” two of just 350 state-recognized items or places with that classification. Most other national treasures are heritage sites. South Korean law prevents the sale of designated national treasures outside of the country. However, they may be bought and sold within its borders with prior notification to the Cultural Heritage Administration. Although the controversial items were legally eligible for sale, the response from K Auction’s bidders was lackluster. The two relics were nestled in the company’s January auction of Modern, contemporary, and traditional Korean art. Seeing no bids, the auctioneer quickly moved ahead to other lots. Smart Times reports that two decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) organized earlier this month and attempted to purchase the objects. However, they failed to raise the necessary funds in time for the auction. This marks the first time that DAOs in…