Notable silver and gold flowers of history
Notable silver and golden flowers of history
There are many interesting topics and views regarding silver and golden flowers. This article aims to make you aware of a few historically notable flowers, made of precious metals, we learned about when developing silver and golden GIYOU flowers.
Bunga Mas (14th–20th century)
Bunga emas dan perak (meaning “golden and silver flowers”, Bunga Mas for short) were a special token of appreciation. Every three years the Malaysian sultans of the northern states on the Malay Peninsula (Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Patani, etc.) would commission and send them, along with other valuable gifts, to the king of Siam (Thailand today).
The reason for this precious tribute isn’t entirely clear and it’s possible that each side interpreted its meaning differently. One theory says that Malaysians sultans saw the flowers as a token of friendship while the king viewed them as a sign of suzerainty.
The Bunga Mas tradition began in the 14th century; the last Bunga Mas was sent from Kedah in 1906. Three years later, another Bunga Mas was allegedly prepared for dispatch but the United Kingdom and Siam signed a treaty which tied most of the northern Malaysian sultanates to the UK. Still, in 1909 and likely in 1911 the UK received a Bunga Mas. According to the Museum Volunteers (Kuala Lumpur) the last Bunga Mas, reportedly sent to the UK, met an unknown fate and may have been lost.
The pictured reproduction of Bunga Mas is housed in the gallery of the National Museum in Kuala Lumpur (Muzium Negra). The flower is 1.5 tall and was made from gold or gilded silver. Other Bunga Mas can be found in Thailand.
Papal golden rose (11th century to present)
Every year, the pope presents golden roses to various individuals, countries, churches, or military figures as a token of his blessing. Nowadays, the papal rose tends to be bestowed on places rather than people. It’s blessed on the fourth Sunday of the Lent (also known as the Rose Sunday).
The golden rose symbolises the resurrected Christ and was inspired by the Bible. The exact root of the tradition isn’t known but the custom of giving golden roses likely originated in the 11th century with Pope Leo IV. The symbol perhaps evolved from an older custom of rewarding sovereigns favoured by the pope with keys to St. Peter’s tomb.
The oldest surviving rose, made by the goldsmith Minucchio da Siena in 1330 and given by Pope John XXII, can be found in the National Museum of the Middle Ages in Paris (Musée de Cluny–Musée national du Moyen Âge).
In the Czech Republic there are currently two golden roses - in the St. Vitus Cathedral and in the Basilica of the Assumption of Mary and Saints Cyril and Methodius in Velehrad, the latter given by Pope John Paul II in 1985.
Edelsteinstrauß (18th century)
Edelsteinstrauß (Diamond Bouquet) is a must-include item although it isn’t made of precious metals but mostly of silk, diamonds and other minerals.
It was commissioned by Maria Theresa (1717–1780) as a gift for her husband, the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II (1708–1765).
Francis II had many interests, e.g. geology and minerals, which likely inspired Maria Theresa to give him the bouquet, a fascinating collection of minerals.
The diamond bouquet consists of 61 different flowers and 12 kinds of insects. It contains 2000 diamonds and over 700 precious and decorative stones (including emeralds, sapphires, rubies, topazes, spinels, opals, agates, and pearls). The leaves are made of silk. The bouquet is placed in a crystal vase. It weighs 2.8 kg, is roughly 50 cm tall and 26 wide.
It was finished in 1760 in Vienna and is now located in the Natural History Museum in Vienna.
Its beauty lies primarily in its abundant details.
Golden Minoan flower (2300–2100 BC)
The golden objects - individual separate leaves, a flower pendant on a chain, and a hair clip, manually shaped to look like a flower - come from 2300–2100 BC and were discovered by a U.S. archaeologist Richard Seagar on the island of Mochlos (Crete). In the Minoan civilization and later Greek culture, flowers and leaves symbolised new life and celebration (Shane Conolly, Anna Pavord: Flower: Exploring the World in Bloom). These manually forged golden artefacts were discovered in the tombs of wealthy citizens. Now they’re a part of the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Silver and golden GIYOU flowers
These remarkable flowers, along with other historical sources used for inspiration, raised more questions and presented a few answers as well. They strengthened our original goal - to create flowers fit for the regular life of modern people. And they inspired our subsequent work.
1. Muzium Negra (Kuala Lumpur): http://www.muziumnegara.gov.my
2. Natural History Museum (Vienna): https://www.nhm-wien.ac.at
3. Musée de Cluny (Paris): https://www.musee-moyenage.fr
4. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York): https://www.metmuseum.org
5. Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunga_mas
6. Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rose
7. Wikipedia: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edelsteinstrauß
8. Jovanović-Kruspel, S. (Hrsg.): Natural History Museum Vienna – A guide to the collections, Residenz Verlag 1979, ISBN 978-3-902421-61-6
9. Shane Connolly, Anna Pavord: Flower: Exploring the World in Bloom, Phaidon, 2020, ISBN/EAN: 9781838660857
11. Our archive