HONG KONG • A life-size Lego sculpture of Disney character Nick Wilde proved too irresistible for a four-year-old Chinese boy.
Despite a "no touching" sign next to the exhibit, the child placed a hand on the sculpture while posing for a photograph, and sent the 1.8m-tall model crashing to the floor.
The creator, identified by his surname, Zhao, had gone without sleep for 72 hours to build the Lego model of Nick, the fox from top-grossing Disney movie Zootopia.
He had spent 100,000 yuan (S$20,900) on his creation, which was made from 10,000 Lego bricks, according to Chinese reports.
Mr Zhao said it had taken him a long time to try to re-create the mischievous expression of the character's eyes.
The statue had been on display for only an hour at a shopping mall in the city of Ningbo when the incident happened on Sunday.
Mr Zhao wrote on his Weibo microblog site that he felt depressed and frustrated after his exhibit was toppled over, reported the South China Morning Post.
He had worked for three days and nights without a break in order to complete the character in time for the exhibition.
Mr Zhao said the boy's parents had apologised for the incident and even offered to pay for the damage, but he turned them down.
"The child did not intend to break it," he was quoted as saying by state broadcaster CCTV.
But some Chinese netizens were not as forgiving.
"A kid with bad behaviour is the result of poor family education," one person wrote. "They must be fined, otherwise no lesson will be learnt."
Following the incident, the hashtag #ManSpends3DaysAndNightsBuildingBlocks has been used over 13,000 times on Weibo, reported BBC News.
The organiser of the exhibition has since put up a sign where the Nick character once stood, calling on the public to show greater respect for the artist and his work.
It showed pictures of the completed figure and also that of scattered Lego bricks on the ground.
"Now Nick looks like this. Aren't you heartbroken?" the sign said.
Zootopia, which debuted in the world's second-largest movie market on March 4, was immensely popular among Chinese moviegoers.
It set the country's new record for the largest single-day gross for an animated film, and overtook Kung Fu Panda 3 as the highest-grossing cartoon in China, according to Bloomberg.