Lotus: Legends, Metaphors and Effect

Buddhist Saint sitting on Lotus. Wat Rong Khun temple, Thailand. http://www.thailand-travelonline.com
Before Saints were worshipped as guardians and protectors of gardens, Priapus or Priapos – Mutinus Mutunus in its Roman version – was adored by Greek and Roman as the god of the procreation, extensive to the livestock, the gardens and vineyards. His statues were placed in the gardens to protect them from predation, especially of crows’. In time, this statues were considered obscene, since they showed the permanent god´s erection.

Priapus was described as Aphrodite and Dionisio’s son, as son of some local nymph, as father or son of Hermes, or Zeus’s son, depending on the version of the myth. Hera, jealous because the hero Paris dared to judge Aphrodite more beautiful than her, cursed Aphrodite’s son with impotence, ugliness and a silly mind, while he was still in her womb. Other gods refused to allow him to live with them in the Mount Olympus, and they threw him to the Earth, where he was eventually found by shepherds. Priapus, eternally frustrated by his impotence, united to Pan and other satyrs as a spirit of fertility and growth.

Priapus and Lotis, III Quatre of SXVI, by a non identified autor, possibly Jacopo Bertoia, Italian, 1530-1575 or Francesco Parmigianino, Italian, 1503-1540 http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/prof/ho_27.78.1%5B26%5D.htm
Lotus flower. Internet download.
Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso 20 March 43 AC -17 o18 AD), mentions the version of the creation of the lotus flower twice. On a certain day, Priapus tried to rape the nymph Lotis, but the strong bray of an ass, caused him to lose his erection, and Lotis, who was sleeping, woke up. Priapus pursued to the desperate nymph, until the gods, grieved by such a situation, transformed her into a lotus with a beautiful flower.
In The Merchant´s Tale, from the Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer, invokes Priapus with the following words:
Ne Priapus ne myghte nat suffise,
Though he be God of gardyns, for to telle
The beautee of the gardyn and the welle,

That stood under a laurer alwey grene.

The Sacred Lotus Flower in India- From Bukisa on line. Posted by Shebear July 12, 2009

This is a literal metaphor of the Lotus Flower in a temple. The Bahá’í Mashriqu’l-Adhkar, known as “Lotus Temple”. Architect Fariborz Sahba.
Another version of this flower in India is: ¨in the epic poetry of the Mahabharata, the Creator, under the name of Brahma, is described as having sprung from the lotus that grew out of Vishnu’s navel when that deity lay absorbed in meditation. Hence, one of the appellations for Brahma is lotus-born [abja-ja, abja-yoni, etc.). The lotus is thus connected with Vishnu, one of whose names is, accordingly, padma-nabha, lotus-naveled. It is further associated with Vishnu’s wife, Lakshmi, goddess of fortune and beauty. The Mahabharata relates the myth that a lotus sprung from Vishnu’s forehead, out of which came Sri (another name for the goddess). Lakshmi is also called Padma (lotus-hued). The Mahabharata, in its account of Mount Kailasa, the abode of Kubera, the god of wealth, described his lake, Nalini, and his river, Mandakini, as covered with golden lotuses.
With the rise of religious art in India, the lotus appeared on all the Buddhist monuments which came into being in different parts of the country from about 200 B.C. onwards. In its simplest form, the expanded lotus appears frequently as a circular ornament in the sculptures at Sanchi, Bharhut, Amravati, and Bodh Gaya, as well as in the rock-cut Buddhist temples of Western India, introduced as medallions on pillars, panels, and ceilings¨. Excerpt from http://www.bahaindia.org/temple/jewel.html
In Biomimicry, the lotus technology of natural cleaning is taken as a good model. ¨Even after emerging from mud, the leaves do not retain dirt when they unfold. This property has been studied intensively by the two botanists Barthlott and Neinhuis from the University of Bonn. In 1975 they discover the reason for this self-cleansing effect. Before that it was the general opinion that the smoother a surface, the less dirt and water adhere to it. By using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) the two scientists discovered that the surface of some Lotus leaves was everything else but smooth. It showed a combination of nano- and microstructures that gave the surface a rough structure. The explanation for the effect lies in two physical characteristics: the properties of these microstructures repel water and the nanostructures found on top of the microstructures are made of waxy materials which are badly wettable. The combination of the chemistry, the ultra structures, and the adherence properties of dirt and water to the surface, is what Barthlott and Neinhuis named the Lotus-Effect.
…. A droplet on an inclined superhydrophobic surface does not slide off; it rolls off. When the droplet rolls over a contamination, the particle is removed from the surface if the force of absorption of the particle is higher than the static friction force between the particle and the surface. Usually the force needed to remove a particle is very low due to the minimized contact area between the particle and the surface. As a result, the droplet cleans the leaf by rolling off the surface¨. Excerpt from http://ssp06.isunet.edu/the_lotus_effect.htm

There is a commercial paint brand that has introduced the technology found in the Lotus´leaves. It is expected that in the future, self sufficient buildings will incorporate this type of biomimicked materials as water repellent and to keep glasses clean. In consequence, it will take longer to fungi and bacteria to appear visible on buildings´surfaces.



Gordon, Lesley. Green Magic. 1977





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