I don’t think I’d ever seen a purple rose before this bouquet arrived from the florist one day. Not only was the color regal — “born to the purple” describes a status as well as a hue — but the very set of this flower seemed regal to me.

Born to the Purple

The confident angle of the rose jogged my memory. What does this remind me of? Of course! The bust of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti. If a rose is the floral icon of the eternal feminine, the bust of Queen Nefertiti is its sculptural icon:


The Great Royal Wife (and sister) of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhnaten, Nefertiti is 3,300 years young. She was crafted in 1345 BC, probably by the sculptor Thutmose, and she is unquestionably one of the most famous women of the ancient world.

The Hub and I saw her in her current home, the Neues Museum in Berlin, some years ago. I had been afraid that, like many other much-heralded works of art, the thing itself would not live up to its publicity. (The Venus de Milo doesn’t do much for me, nor does the Mona Lisa. No doubt my failing, not theirs, but still.)

We found her in a small room all by herself, in a glass case. The room was dark, the case was spot lit, and I — was mesmerized. I could not take my eyes off the regal face. I walked around and around, drinking her in from every angle. Even the milky empty socket of the left eye could not detract from her radiance. Simply put, she is perfect. Every inch a queen, every inch the beautiful woman. We spent a long time together that longago morning, she and I.

And once that memory had been jogged, the purple rose in my bouquet recalled that royal form and meaning for me. The rose itself is now long wilted and gone, but the photo remains to remind me of Nefertiti, and of a marvelous truth. Roses may live and die. So do human beings. But there is beauty that exists  beyond life and death, and when we glimpse it, we too — for a moment at least — share in the eternal.

This entry was posted in Art, Flowers, Life and Death, Memory. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Lovely post and so very marvelous the way you have woven that regal robe of purple throughout the ages and into eternity.


  2. Empty eye socket. Chipped right ear. Still a beauty. And the rose has that same head-held-confidently high look.
    Nicely written.


  3. Never saw a rose like that before either! Interesting to read about your associations … must have been a marvellous experience to see her.

    I saw a big hibiscus today and thought of you … 🙂


  4. Lucid Gypsy says:

    She is beautiful and to remain so intact all this time is amazing. The best thing though is that there is magic in your pen today, fabulous writing!


  5. cocomino says:

    Lovely rose and lovely post 🙂


  6. Purple is my favorite color, and I had never seen a purprle rose before. I love Nefertiti. I have a small bust of her in my office. Wonderful post.


  7. Stephanie says:

    Maybe it’s the ruffled white Elizabethan collar that makes it seem especially regal? What a beautiful color, and how lucky you are to be the recipient of such a royal visit.


  8. Madhu says:

    I can see why that regal rose reminded you of the beautiful queen, Judith! I have longed to lay eyes on that exquisite visage for ages! Someday soon 🙂


  9. 2e0mca says:

    I too have been underwhelmed by the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. Egyptian sculpture seems to have been far ahead of its time and I love the colossal busts of Pharoahs in the British Museum – especially the one of Amenhotep III (unfortunately he’s not quite as intact as Nefertiti ).


    • Touch2Touch says:

      Maybe the severe angular lines of the Egyptian suit our severe and angular times —
      Thanks for visiting and commenting.


      • 2e0mca says:

        I think it’s more the beautiful symplicity and attention to detail whilst working in sandstone or granite rather than the more popular marble of the italian sculptors. Also their sculptures seem so full of strength – you couldn’t compare the likes of David with Amenhotep. And when did you see an Italian sculpture of a lady so strong in its portrayal as Nefertiti? Perhaps it’s just down to changes in artistic expression through the ages.


        • Touch2Touch says:

          I love this, Martin. Just mentioning sandstone and granite as contrasted with marble gave me an aha! moment.
          The difference in materials is far more significant than I ever considered. Changes over the ages, of course — but your compelling comment about “full of strength”, comparing David and Amenhotep, points to changes in values as primary. Those changes then leading to changes in artistic expression — Thanks once again to that keen photographic eye, which is just as keen in observing many kinds of art —


  10. Patti Kuche says:

    A fabulous combination Judith, oh the timelessness of true beauty . . . . and lucky you getting to enjoy it in Berlin!


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