In pics: When Air India presented Surrealist Salvador Dali an elephant

  • HT Correspondent
  • Updated: Apr 22, 2016 12:36 IST

In 1967 national carrier Air India commissioned Spanish artist Salvador Dalí to create a limited edition ashtray which was to be given to a select group of first-class passengers. Dali produced a small unglazed porcelain ashtray composed of a shell-shaped centre with a serpent around its perimeter.

The ashtray is mostly unglazed porcelain with a glazed serpent around the lip of the ashtray. (Source:

Rumour has it than as an exchange for his remarkable design, Dali asked for a baby elephant as his fees and so the baby elephant was flown from Bangalore to Geneva.

Air India flew the elephant to Geneva from Bangalore and then trucked it to Dali’s house in Spain (Image Source: Gulserene Dastur)

The elephant was paraded for public viewing in the Plaza (Image Source: Gulserene Dastur)

Nari Dastur, the Regional Director for Europe for Air India, and his team and he organised the event to present Dali with an elephant.

Salvador Dali along with Jot Singh of Air India. Dali shows off his ashtray

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