A CLUMSY visitor to a Cambridge museum has destroyed a set of priceless 300-year-old Chinese vases after tripping on his shoelace.
The three Qing vases, dating from the late 17th or early 18th century, had stood on a windowsill at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, southeast England, for at least 40 years. Their prominent position made them among its best known artefacts, the UK Daily Telegraph reported today.
The report was accompanied by a photo, taken by another visitor, of the culprit, an unnamed man in his forties, attempting to pick himself up among the porcelain debris after the accident, which happened on an unspecified day last week.
Steve Baxter, another visitor who saw the accident, was quoted as saying: "We watched the man fall as if in slow motion. He landed in the middle of the vases and they splintered into a million pieces.
"He was still sitting there stunned when staff appeared. Everyone stood around in silence, as if in shock. Then the man started talking. He kept pointing to his shoelace and saying, 'There it is, that's the culprit'."