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Object Timeline

-0001

1960

  • We acquired this object.

2014

2015

2017

  • You found it!

Lotus-shaped Cup (Egypt), ca. 1100 BC

This is a Lotus-shaped cup. It is dated ca. 1100 BC and 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.

This object was purchased from Sotheby's and purchased with funds from: Sarah Cooper Hewitt and Eleanor Garnier Hewitt and catalogued by Hedy Backlin-Landman. It is credited Museum purchase through gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt.

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Its dimensions are

H x diam.: 8 x 5 cm (3 1/8 x 1 15/16 in.)

Cite this object as

Lotus-shaped Cup (Egypt), ca. 1100 BC; colored faience (ceramic frit); H x diam.: 8 x 5 cm (3 1/8 x 1 15/16 in.); Museum purchase through gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt; 1960-29-1

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

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18433657/ |title=Lotus-shaped Cup (Egypt), ca. 1100 BC |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=24 April 2017 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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