Rosette (design)

A rosette is a round, stylized flower design, used extensively in sculptural objects from antiquity. Appearing in Mesopotamia and used to decorate the funeral stele in Ancient Greece. Adopted later in Romaneseque and Renaissance, and also common in the art of Central Asia, spreading as far as India where it is used as a decorative motif in Greco-Buddhist art.

The rosette derives from the natural shape of a rosette in botany, formed by leaves radiating out from the stem of a plant and visible even after the flowers have withered. The formalised flower motif is often in carved in stone or wood to create decorative ornaments for architecture and furniture. A common motif in metalworking, jewelry design and the applied arts at the intersection of two materials, or to form a decorative border.

Rosette decorations have been used for formal military awards.

Ancient origins

One of the earliest appearances of the rosette in ancient art is in early fourth millennium BC Egypt. [Alfred Cort Haddon, "Evolution in Art: As Illustrated by the Life-histories of Designs", 1914, Scribner's, 364 pages] Another early Mediterranean occurrence of the rosette design derives from Minoan Crete; for example, the rosette design has been found on the famed Phaistos Disc, recovered from the Phaistos archaeological site in southern Crete. [ [ C.Michael Hogan, "Phaistos Fieldnotes", the Modern Antiquarian (2007)] ]

Buddha, Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara, circa 1st century CE.


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