Flowers of Re: The floral origins and solar significance of rosettes in Egyptian art Open Access

Burian, Shelley Alice (2016)

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Throughout the Pharaonic period in Egypt an image resembling a flower, called a rosette, was depicted on every type of art form from architecture to jewelry. The identification and significance of the rosette motif has been debated by scholars since the mid-nineteenth century. The wide range of variations grouped under this title has led to doubts over the motif's relationship to actual flowers. This thesis demonstrates that the unifying characteristic features of all rosettes are concentric circles rather than radial symmetry as have been previously suggested. These features have a close correspondence with the morphology of the Compositae family and many of the features of Compositae rosettes that previous scholars have used to argue against any connection to nature indicate the reverse. Scholars who dismissed the rosette motif as pure invention with no further purpose than to provide beautiful floral decoration ignored several of the founding principles of Egyptian art and the ancient Egyptians' relationship with the natural world. The balance between symbolism and naturalism which pervades all Egyptian images of nature is very much present in Compositae rosettes. The composition of Compositae rosettes, which emphasizes solar colors and circular forms, closely resembles the hieroglyph r' and indicates that they were used as a floral form of the sun, an incarnation of the power of Re that could be used by both royal and non-royal Egyptians.

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Image information, 1

Body, 2-38

Works Cited, 39-41

Figure List, 42-45

Figures, 46-47

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