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Lotus-shaped Cup (Egypt)

This is a Lotus-shaped cup. We acquired it in 1960. Its medium is colored faience (ceramic frit). It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

The oldest object in the museum's collection, this vessel still shows its striking blue color, created by adding copper to its quartz-based medium. Both its color and form imitate the petals of the Egyptian lotus flower seen in black outline. A symbol of life, death, and rebirth in ancient Egyptian culture, the lotus opens its petals every morning as if being born. Each evening it closes, symbolizing death, followed by rebirth the next morning.

This object was featured in our Object of the Day series in a post titled A Toast to Life, Death, and Rebirth.

Our curators have highlighted 8 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Lotus Bowl, 1912–17
  • raised and chased silver.
  • Museum purchase from the Members' Acquisitions Fund of Cooper-Hewitt,....
  • 2008-3-1

Cite this object as

Lotus-shaped Cup (Egypt); colored faience (ceramic frit); 1960-29-1

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Making Design.

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Lotus-shaped Cup (Egypt) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=27 January 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>