The Shiva Vase

According to BD Barcelona, Sottsass regularly travelled to Barcelona in the early 1970s for love. According to the story, the Shiva vase is said to have remained the fruit of his love for a young Catalan woman for the history of design.

Shiva is the charismatic name of the vase that Ettore Sottsass created in 1973 and which has been produced by BD Barcelona ever since.
Shiva Vase

The Shiva Vase was created by legendary architect and designer, Ettore Sottsass. Sottsass created several pieces in the early 1970s for BD Barcelona – Mettsass table, Manhattan ashtray, Knossos lamp, and this iconic ceramic Shiva vase with pink glaze. Sottsass made several trips to Barcelona in the early 1970s as he had fallen in love with a beautiful Catalan girl. As BD Barcelona simply notes, the inspiration for the Shiva vase was “a fruit of this love and his stay in our country.”

Shiva Vase

The Shiva Vase exemplifies the playful and iconoclastic nature of Sottsass’s work. Although the piece is domestic in scale, like the vases of his Ruins series, he referred to it as one of his “small, small architectures,” which he likened to ancient monuments and abandoned temples. The Shiva Vase also alludes to lingam shrines to the Hindu god that he encountered on repeated trips to India, beginning in 1961.

As BD Barcelona simply notes, the inspiration for the Shiva vase was “a fruit of this love and his stay in our country.”

“I continue to produce small, small, small architectures, such as this ceramic piece, for example, a little like monuments, a little like tombs, a little like the abandoned temples of the gods, a little like the ruins of the ancient and unknown civilization in which something – they say – was known; it is said that they understood the axes, the curves, the intersections, perhaps even the causation of the courses of the cosmic bodies” – Ettore Sottass.

Shiva Vase

The Shiva’s illustrious figure launched the roster of designs in the first BD catalogue. Memphis was not to appear on the scene for another ten years, but Ettore Sottsass had already by then been visiting India for a decade. His “little architectures”, such as this flower vase, owe a great deal to that culture.

Examples of Sottsass’ Shiva vase are included in the permanent collections of museums worldwide including New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Manufactured by BD Barcelona.

Shiva Vase
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