Valuable Chinese Vase Smashed by Museum Visitor Back on Display

Valuable Chinese Vase Smashed by Museum Visitor Back on Display

Acenturies-old Chinese vase that smashed to pieces when a museum visitortripped on his shoelace is back on display as part of an exhibition inCambridge on art restoration.

The Fitzwilliam Museum said today that the Qing Dynasty vase had been reassembled from the 113 pieces created when visitor Nick Flynn tumbled down a staircase in January.

"Putting the vase back together may have looked impossibleto most people but actually it wasn't a difficult job fairlystraightforward," said restorer Penny Bendall.

"The museum collected the pieces. None had warped, so they fitted back together."

Bendall said she hoped to restore two similar vases broken in the same incident by Christmas in late December.

The vases, dating from the late 17th or early 18th century,were donated to the museum in 1948 and were among its best-knownartifacts. They had been sitting proudly on a window sill beside thestaircase for 40 years.

"I snagged my shoelace, missed the step and crash, bang,wallop there were a million pieces of high-quality Qing ceramics lyingaround underneath me," Flynn, 42, said after the incident.

The restored vase forms part of the "Mission Impossible?"exhibition, running until Sept. 24 at the museum in Cambridge, north ofLondon.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press