Lotus Flower Inlay

New Kingdom, Amarna Period

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 122

The water lily, more commonly known as the lotus, was one of the most ubiquitous plants and symbols of ancient Egypt. Its flower, which is either blue or white (Nymphaea coerulea and alba), closes up at night and reopens in the morning to reveal a central yellow circle radiating yellow petals. To the ancient Egyptians this phenomenon reflected the rising of the sun at the dawn of creation, and the flower was honored as an image of daily rebirth and rejuvenation. De-pictions of the water lily, such as these models and inlays, usually incorporate this symbolism, but the plant was also valued for its medicinal properties as a pain reliever.

Lotus Flower Inlay, Faience

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