Monday, January 30, 2006


From the BBC:

A stumbling visitor to a top museum has destroyed a set of priceless vases which stood on a shelf for 40 years. The 300-year-old Qing vases were among the best known artefacts at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

The visitor is said to have slipped on a loose shoelace and fallen down a staircase bringing the vases crashing down as he tried to steady himself.

The vases, donated in 1948, were said to hold a "significant value" and were among the best known pieces on display.

The museum declined to identify the man who had tripped.

The accident happened last Wednesday and the museum said it was a most unfortunate and regrettable accident.

Margaret Greeves, the museum's assistant director, said: "They are in very, very small pieces, but we are determined to put them back together."

Read the rest here.

I'm sure it was traumatic and embarassing and all that, but I honestly wonder about the visceral thrill one might get smashing two priceless vases and not having to worry about replacing them. Maybe the guy who did it reads this article and cringes, or maybe he nurses a secret pleasure remembering the sound of the porcelain hitting the marble stairs, as he and the vases tumbled down together. Can you imagine the noise?

With no injury and no compensation attached to the experience, I figure the recollection of it must be slightly intoxicating. Fair warning to my friends who own 300-year-old vases.

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