Two Rings with Lotus Flowers
These two unique two gold rings are decorated with lotus flowers. The blossoms are made from lapis lazuli and carnelian set into gold cloisons. One ring of this pair has a slender hoop attached to a lentoid bezel on which opposing lotus blossoms with petals of alternating dark and light blue glass are cut and set into gold cloisons.
The cloisons between the petals are filled with white glass with purple specks. The other is a triple ring attached to the back plate of the bezel. A cluster of five wires bent over the outside of the hoop from which golden petals spring to frame the two lotus blossoms of the bezel.
Lotus blossoms were a popular motif and symbolized regeneration. 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. Depictions 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.
New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty to 20th Dynasty, ca. 1400-1200 BC. Gold with glass, lapis lazuli, and carnelian inlay. 3/4 x 13/16 x 3/8 in. (1.9 x 2.1 x 0.9 cm); 5/8 x 11/16 x 3/8 in. (1.6 x 1.7 x 1 cm). Now in the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. VO.77 (57.1474, 57.1475)