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Object Timeline

-0001

1960

  • We acquired this object.

2014

2015

2020

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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 Week series in a post titled A Toast to Life, Death, and Rebirth.

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Cite this object as

Lotus-shaped Cup (Egypt); Previously owned by James Hazen Hyde (American, 1876 - 1959); colored faience (ceramic frit); 1960-29-1

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

This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

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

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18433657/ |title=Lotus-shaped Cup (Egypt) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=29 November 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>