Nefertem is primarily known as the god of a water flower (in fact the water lily, but often referred to in Egyptological literature as the lotus). But originally he was the primeval god, the young sun or Atum who came out of the primeval waters of Nun and created the world; this creator god emerged from a water flower, which is why he was linked with the water lily. The Egyptians also saw a parallel between the cyclus of the sun and the opening and closing of the flower or, even better, the disappearing under water at night and the reappearing the next morning of some of these flowers.
According to the Pyramid Texts of the Old Kingdom Nefertem once ruled alongside Re, the former over mankind and the latter over the gods. Later, Nefertem was still called "He who protects the two lands". He was seen as the god of light who drove away darkness as well as enemies, which may have contributed to Nefertem being associated with a lion.
Nefertem is usually depicted as a young man with a blue water lily flower on his head, sometimes with two feathers. He can also be shown as the solar child, squatting in the disk of the sun. Sometimes he has the head of a lion.