...'This utility of handles had also caught the attention of the pioneering German sociologist Georg Simmel, but he thought utility was only half the story. In his brilliant 1911 essay “The Handle,” Simmel argued that the handle of a vase bridges two worlds, the utilitarian and the non-utilitarian. A vessel, according to Simmel, “unlike a painting or statue, is not intended to be insulated and untouchable but is meant to fulfill a purpose—if only symbolically. For it is held in the hand and drawn into the movement of practical life.”
Thus the vessel stands in two worlds at one and the same time: whereas reality is completely irrelevant to the “pure” work of art and, as it were, is consumed in it, reality does make claims upon the vase as an object that is handled, filled and emptied, proffered, and set down here and there. This dual nature of the vase is most decisively expressed in its handle.'