Dali’s Maharaja Connect

Very few know of Salvador Dali’s Indian creation, and the interesting story behind this very peculiar creation that would have left Alfred Hitchcock spellbound (Dalí had previously created a dream sequence for Hitchcock’s thriller called, Spellbound).
In 1967, Air India commissioned Dalí to design a limited edition ashtray (Height: 8.5 cm (3-1/3 in.) – Width: 16 cm (6-1/4 in.) – Depth: 13 cm (5-1/10 in.), which was to be given as a souvenir to a few of its esteemed first class passengers. And at the age of 60, Dalí designed an unglazed porcelain ashtray with the glazed serpent, supported by two surrealist elephant heads and a swan.

In Dali’s words, the reflection of an elephant´s head looks like a swan and the reflection of a swan appears to be an elephant. This is what I have done for the ashtray. The swan up-side-down becomes an elephant´s head and the elephant inverted – a swan. ”
It is said, that as an exchange for his remarkable design, Dali asked for a baby elephant as his fees. The Air India staff initially thought it was a joke, but then quickly realized that the surrealist was dead serious about his surreal wish. And so the baby elephant was flown from Bangalore to Geneva.

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