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Four Ornamental Rosettes
Period: Tell el-Yahoudiyeh, Twentieth Dynasty, Reign of Rameses III, 1184-1153 BC
Culture: Egyptian
Material: Faience and Gold
Dimensions: 3.5 cm each
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The four rosettes are delicately crafted in faience to produce three beautiful contrasts of colour, consisting of eight white petals, a light blue background, and yellow stamen. Rosettes have a long tradition in the history of ancient Egypt. They first appear in the Old Kingdom as incised and carved motifs on gold and ivory knife handles and become increasingly popular in the New Kingdom. There are a number of variants and the motif is used to decorate a range of artistic media from sarcophagi to jewellery.


The present rosettes are of the circumscribed type, and had multiple functions: set on flower stems on metal vessels, decorated the sides of kraters or the handles of vases more generally, used as jewellery beads, and adorned royal headdresses. The combination of four rosettes of a similar stylistic character and of this particular size were often used as architectural ornamentation, especially in palatial design, and it is noteworthy that the present four rosettes were originally from the palace of Ramses III at Tell el-Yahoudiyeh in the East Delta of the Nile. A similar rosette of the New Kingdom is displayed in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (12.692).



Private Collection of His Excellency Mamdouh Riaz, acquired between 1952 and 1955.
Each mounted on a brooch dating to the 1950s.

The reverse of each brooch is engraved as follows:
A. Mars 1954 Liberation
B. 21 Mars 1953 Union divine
C. Juin 1955 Union totale
D. 1 Aout 1952 Rencontre

H.E. Mamdouh Riaz was born in Cairo in 1895, the grandson of Riaz Pasha, former Prime Minister of Egypt.

He, too, was a prominent politician, holding the position of Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs before becoming the Minister of Commerce and Industry between 1947 and 1949. He then assumed the role of Minister for Defence, in 1949.


The photograph of Mr Riaz below is from Le Mondain Egyptien, the Egyptian Who’s Who, 1943 edition, an annual publication featuring important members of Egyptian High Society.