the Memphite god Nefertem with a water-lily headdress as a symbol of fragrance and beauty.
God of healing and beauty
Major cult center Memphis
Symbol the water-lily
Parents Ptah and Sekhmet
Siblings Maahes (in some accounts)

In Egyptian mythology, Nefertem (possibly translated as the beautiful one who closes or the one who does not close; also read as Nefertum, Nefer-Tem, Nefer-Temu) was originally a lotus flower at the creation of the world, who had arisen from the primal waters.[1] Nefertem represented both the first sunlight and the delightful smell of the Egyptian blue lotus flower, having arisen from the primal waters within an Egyptian blue water-lily, Nymphaea caerulea (This flower is widely used in Egyptian art, religion and literature. In much of the literature about ancient Egypt, it is called the "(blue) lotus".[2] However, the true lotus, Nelumbo nucifera, was not found in Egypt until the time of the Persian invasion, when it was introduced as a food crop). Some of the titles of Nefertem were "He Who is Beautiful" and "Water-Lily of the Sun", and a version of the Book of the Dead says,

"Rise like Nefertem from the blue water lily, to the nostrils of Ra (the creator and sungod), and come forth upon the horizon each day."

Nefertem the child comes from his earth father Nun's black primordial waters, and his sky mother is Nut. When he matures, he is Ra.

Nefertum was eventually seen as the son of the creator god Ptah, and the goddesses Sekhmet and Bastet were sometimes called his mother. In art, Nefertum is usually depicted as a beautiful young man having blue water-lily flowers around his head. As the son of Bast, he also sometimes has the head of a lion or is a lion or cat reclining. The ancient Egyptians often carried small statuettes of him as good-luck charms.


  1. ^ Nefertem page at Ancient Egypt: the Mythology retrieved June 21, 2008.
  2. ^ Male Child Deities of Ancient Egypt at Tour Egypt retrieved June 21, 2008.

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Look at other dictionaries:

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