Chapter 102: Hard to Know the other Person’s Heart (2)
That buddha was excavated in China. Haejin’s father had then exchanged it with another buddha of
Goryeo which was later brought in Korea.
He never sent artifacts out of their own country, so he always cashed them in. At the time, the buddha
was so valuable that he couldn’t sell it for money. So, he exchanged it with a Goryeo buddha instead.
Haejin knew both buddhas, of course. That’s why he was expecting a Goryeo buddha…
However, this was the Chinese buddha his father had excavated. Why was it not in China but here?
Haejin was puzzled.
“Really? Just as I thought… oh, this is from the period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties, right?”
“Yes, it is. You have studied well.”
Jaewon had majored in archeology and he was good at it. Well, not knowing that much would mean
he was not good enough to become a buried artifact researcher.
“Haha, I should know that much to get a job. Then, how much would it be?”
“Let’s take a look first, shall we?”
There was a room for appraisal in the basement. So, they took the buddha and went down while
Eunhae followed them.
“Oh, nice to meet you.”
She looked even more elegant than usual with the white blouse and the long skirt that came down to
Jaewon turned red as she was so beautiful.
“This must be the buddha you brought.”
Eunhae examined the buddha on the table. However, Haejin was still thinking.
His father used to sell artifacts he excavated at a cheap price on the black markets because he had
his code to keep, but even without it, bringing artifacts to Korea required a complicated and
Bribing the Chinese customs workers was only the start. He had to bribe the Korean customs workers
as well, and not get busted by the maritime police.
Smuggling in one small gold bar was complicated enough, so smuggling in an artifact this big is
impossible without guts and preparation.
Eventually, the only way to check accurately was by using his magic, but Haejin was hesitating.
Using magic on a stranger’s artifact to see its past wasn’t a problem, but he had a feeling that if he
looked into the past of this artifact, he would never be able to see Jaewon again.
“What do you think? Is this worth some money?”
“Huh? Yes, yes.”
If Jaewon had studied properly, he must have known this buddha had a considerable value. So, of
course, he was excited.
Haejin knew that it was natural, but…
Eunhae realized Haejin’s expression was strange and asked, “Why? What’s wrong?”
“No, nothing’s wrong, I just have a question. Jaewon, did my father give you this?”
Jaewon replied innocently, “Yes, of course. You told me you knew that I would bring a buddha.”
“It’s… no. Could you step back?”
Haejin drank water from the paper the cup and used magic.
Eunhae saw his eyelashes shake and his face turn red. She took a step closer and asked with
concern, “Are you not feeling well?”
“No, no, I’m fine.”
Haejin told Eunhae not to worry and turned to Jaewon.
“I think you can get more than three billion won with this. You haven’t sold it yet, that’s impressive.”
Jaewon looked like he couldn’t believe it.
“Three billion? Not three hundred thousand?”
“Yes, I think it is worth that much.”
The buddha Jaewon had brought was an artifact of The South. It looked slightly different from the
other remaining buddhas.
Two buddhas were guarding the biggest buddha in the middle, and two very small buddhas with the
small halo were attached to the bigger halo at the back.
It was a Five Standing Buddhas statue. Its shape was unique, and it was in good condition. Therefore,
Haejin thought he could sell it at three billion at least.
Haejin remembered it clearly as his father had found it with luck. It was buried underground, and it
had no contact with the air.
However, the problem lay somewhere else. Surprisingly, the black-market merchant, who had taken
this buddha, had been working with Jaewon’s father.
He didn’t like the fact that Haejin’s father was selling artifacts on the black markets at cheap prices, so
he hired someone to act as the merchant and had him buy a Korean artifact to trade.
It was kind of gambling. He set a trap, anticipating Haejin’s father would sell the artifacts at an
extremely low price and go back to Korea.
Funnily, that plan worked. Jaewon’s father managed to come back with this buddha and a few other
artifacts after many ordeals, but afterward, he excavated in India without Haejin’s father and got hurt
badly. He died soon after.
“Wow… how could this happen…”
Jaewon’s voice broke with tears as he stroked the buddha. However, Haejin wasn’t touched. Jaewon
knew it after all. That this buddha wasn’t the one Haejin’s father gave him.
He just didn’t know that Haejin also knew about this buddha. Actually, he would have realized it if he
had thought a little deeper, but he couldn’t do that.
“What are you going to do? Do you want to put it on auction? Or you want me to sell it for you?”
Jaewon thought for some time, stroking the buddha, and clenched his fist as if he had made up his
“Then please sell it for me. The auction would be good, too, but you’ve appraised this for free, so I
should let you do it. So that you would get some money, too…”
“All the better for me.”
In fact, Haejin wasn’t that grateful. He knew Jaewon wasn’t just trying to help him out of kindness.
“Then, what should I do? Should I write the contract of consignment?”
“Yes, there’s an office upstairs. I’ll tell someone, so go there and write the contract. My employees will
take photos, so check them after writing the contract before you leave.”
“Okay, thank you. Then, I’ll go.”
Jaewon left. Next, Eunhae asked Haejin, “There is another reason, right? I’ve never seen you with
A woman’s gut feeling can be very accurate.
“Actually, I’ve seen this buddha before.”
“My father excavated this buddha in Chongqing, China.”
“My father always sold the artifacts he excavated in the local black market before coming to Korea,
and that’s what he did with this. And this suddenly showed up in Korea, so imagine how much I was
Eunhae thought about it and suggested a theory.
“Maybe he stole it.”
“Haha! Unlikely. Smuggling in artifacts is not easy. Jaewon is still a kid, there’s no way he stole or
bought this in China and brought it to Korea.”
“Then, how is this here?”
“That’s what I want to know.”
Haejin knew exactly what happened, but he couldn’t talk about it. Anyway, Haejin signed the contract
with Jaewon and sent him back. Eunhae came to Haejin again when he was concentrating on the
final part of the incense burner’s restoration.
“How’s it going?”
“This is so magnificent, no matter how many times I see it.”
The dirt and the other pollutants had been removed. Haejin was repairing the parts that were about to
be broken off because of the pressure it had suffered underground.
“Right? Being able to restore such an artifact is a huge honor.”
“When can we show it to the public?”
“Next month, probably. We will have to start preparing immediately. Bring a photographer to take its
photos and send them to the city’s Cultural Management team. They will want to register this as a
national treasure as well.”
“There are so many treasures and national treasures in our museum. I am thinking of using a TV
program to promote another gilt-bronze incense burner of Baekje instead of the pamphlet and the
“Mr. Oh’s offer made me realize that I have been too narrow-minded. His offer was dirty with greed,
but without it, I think there are various ways to promote artifacts through dramas and TV shows.”
That made sense. Haejin could fully understand that it was better to show the art world as it was,
rather than fabricating it to fascinate ordinary people.
“That’s a good opinion. However, will TV programs accept our offer? Shouldn’t it be quite a luxurious
drama? And I thought to make use of embedded marketing costs a lot these days.”
“Of course, we will have to spend some money as the promotion fee, but if this museum gets
promoted on a TV program, it will bring more visitors on its own. Also, I heard that dramas and
comedy shows prefer making use of embedded marketing when it comes to art museums. Yaerin
knows a lot about that kind of stuff. Well, we will have to start discussing to find out the details… But it
isn’t bad, right?”
“Yes, it’s good.”
“Then, what are you going to do about the buddha? Shall I have it exhibited starting from tomorrow?
With the price tag?”
“Why don’t we exhibit it without the price? Instead, tell the staff to answer well if anyone asks.
Actually, you should handle this. I’m not an expert in this kind of thing. You are.”
Eunhae smiled proudly, she took it as a compliment.
“Haha, okay. Then I will handle it. You didn’t get the appraisal fee earlier. Are you really going to
charge only 5% as the brokerage?”
“5% of three billion is 150 million. That’s enough, 10% is too much.”
“Hmm… okay. However, why didn’t he put it on auction? Because he might get less than he is
“Probably for his future.”
“For his future? What do you mean?”
“You heard him in London saying that he wants to get a job at a museum or artifact excavating
agency… I think entrusting the buddha to us to sell it means that he wants a job here.”
Eunhae’s eyes got bigger and crossed her arms.
“Oh, that might be the case…”
“And his girlfriend is being requested to meet other guys. So maybe, he thought getting a decent job
would please her parents, even though getting money from the buddha is important.”
“Hmm… he might be thinking so. Then, what are you going to do if he says he wants a job here?”
“Well, I don’t know.”
Actually, there was another reason Haejin was not telling her.
Jaewon couldn’t have been thinking to sell the buddha on auction in the first place. He must have
thought that the moment he entrusted it to an auction agency, he would have to explain its source.
Korean artifacts can be different, but if you cannot give a clear source of a foreign artifact, you will not
be able to sell it and moreover, a foreigner might see it and sue you.
Jaewon probably sold the other artifacts Haejin’s father had given him through Insadong. And, what
Haejin said about it being worth more than three billion must have shaken his heart.
Selling it through Insadong would give him less than half of that price. However, Jaewon didn’t know
much about this buddha.
“Why do you not know?”
“Because this buddha is not going to be sold.”