Why Are Roses So Sought After?

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

-  William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet.

Everyone knows how expensive roses are, especially when Valentines Day approaches. They are also often known as the queen of flowers. With an extensive range of beautiful floral species available to us in the modern age, why has the rose remained the iconic romantic flower sought by many?

1. Historical Significance

The rose is closely associated with the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite, in Ancient Greece. In Homer's Iliad, Aphrodite protects the body of Hector using the "immortal oil of the rose". It is also the national flower of England, a usage dating back to the fabled War of the Roses in the fifteenth century where the red rose represented the House of Lancaster and the white rose representing the House of York. The Tudor dynasty then created the Tudor rose to unify both sides. It is also the state flowerfor 5 United States states.

In Asian culture roses can be traced back to ancient times. Confucius wrote of growing roses in the Imperial gardens all the way back in 500 B.C. and also mentioned the wide section of the library devoted to the subject. In the Mughal period of Indian history in the 16th century, 20,000 rose flowers were distilled to create one bottle of rose liquor for the empress Nur Jehan.

Rose Ball is Lladró's 2024 annual piece, which references the deep blue ombres of their iconic Limited Edition Night Approaches whilst still having the elegant serenity of their classical collection.

2. Religious Symbology

There are many references to the rose in all Abrahamic religions. In the Song of Songs of Judaism, Jewish people are compared to a rose. In Christianity, the rose is heavily affiliated with the Virgin Mary especially Our Lady of Guadalupe, and such importance eventually led to the creation of the rosary and other devotional prayers. In Sufi Islam, the rose is heavily attached to imagery of lover and beloved, and the scent of roses represents the sacredness of people's souls.

In Hinduism, Brahma and Vishnu were debating on which was the most beautiful flower. Brahma selected the lotus flower a very symbolic choice, but Vishnu proclaimed the rose from his own garden as the most beautiful. Brahma who has not seen a rose before changed his mind after seeing a rose, and created Lakshmi as Vishnu's bride from 108 large and 10008 small rose petals.

According to Mexican tradition, the imagery of Our Lady of Guadalupe's (left) was imprinted on the inside of Juan Diego's cloak when he used it to bring the Bishop roses after being ordered to by a vision of Mary. The Goddess Lakshmi (right) was said to be created from 108 large and 1008 small rose petals by the creator of the world Brahma.

3. Artistic Interpretation

Roses have been ingrained in artform since time immemorial. Literature containing references to this flower include Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Oscar Wilde's The Nightingale and the Rose, and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry The Little Prince. Painting include Van Gogh's Still Life: Vase with Pink Roses and Lawrence Alma-Tadema's The Roses of Heliogabalus. Popular songs include Seal's Kiss from a Rose and Edith Piaf's La Vie en Rose. As you can tell from such examples, the rose is usually used within a romantic context symbolising love and passion.

The calm before the storm is represented in this Lladró piece Rose Ballet. The most popular rose reference in ballet is Rose Adagio, an intense choreographed section in Act 1 of Swan Lake.

4. Natural Beauty

The rose itself is a floral marvel to behold. They come in a wide variety of shapes and colours - from classic red and pink to the rarer off-white and lavendar shades - each carrying a different meaning. Their petals are soft and velvety and they emit a sweet and alluring scent. They are also well known for having a thorny stalk, which has become s symbol of adversity and sacrifice. Oftentimes the most beautiful things in the world have rough edges and we are better off learning to love those.

Roses have been a staple in Lladró's detailed flowers pieces as they are still made today petal by petal. You can see them in pieces such as Flower for Everyone (left) and Flowers Forever (right).

5. Careful Cultivation

To bloom well, rose bushes have to be maintained by a diligent gardener. Many of the most beautiful variants called cultivars and hybrids have been painstakingly bred over years to select the most desirable traits to be expressed. The common garden rose is still pretty, yet the elegance of a carefully crafted variant can't be denied. The Juliet Rose, was developed over 15 years and costed over 3 million Euro; it debuted in the Chelsea Flower Show in 2006 and won 25 gold medals.

Lladró's Dagger and Rose from the Ink collection was inspired from illustrations and tattoos popular in the 1930s. This can be placed on a table support like depicted here or mounted onto a wall.

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