Flowers


The Penn Museum has many examples of florals in its collection.  In the literal sense, archaeobotanical samples collected at archaeological sites around the globe give us clues about the environments in which past societies lived and how humans interacted with plant life throughout history.  In the figurative sense, depictions of flowers adorn the surfaces of material culture in our collection from all regions of the world, and in some cases, the object itself takes on the form of a flower.  Floral imagery on cultural material reveals the importance that flowering plants have played in our daily lives, including their use as medicinal sources, food sources, natural dyes, pleasant aromas, and for which they are most commonly known: creating romantic gestures. 

While your flowers may not yet be in bloom, take a moment to peek into our garden and you will find that flowers grow everywhere throughout our collections.  From objects that decorate the spaces we inhabit—architecture, pottery, table ware, and wall hangings—to the items we use to decorate our own bodies—clothing, jewelry, bags, and shoes—flowers can be found blooming across painted surfaces, woven into textiles, and molded into bouquets.  They symbolize rebirth and renewal, as well as remind us both of the fragility and beauty of life.  Below is a sampling of floral imagery in our collection; we invite you to view how flowers have colored the lives of people throughout history, and afterward, to take the time to think about how flowers are incorporated into your own life—whether they are for relaxing, healing, smelling, eating, romancing, coloring, decorating, or any other way that we as humans have thought to use them.

1 - 20 of 92 Objects
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42-18-1
37-23-6
38-23-122
38-23-123
Pouch
42-18-1
View Object | 12812
Pouch
37-23-6
View Object | 17013
Votive Bowl
38-23-122
View Object | 86468
Votive Bowl
38-23-123
View Object | 86623

2005-13-1
81-28-1
Object On Display
NA8380A
2000-16-1
Blouse
2005-13-1
View Object | 10719
Pad Saddle
81-28-1
View Object | 154033
Pouch
NA8380A
View Object | 27908
Collar
2000-16-1
View Object | 13238

45-15-1169
45-15-271
92-12-3A
37-23-4A
Whip
45-15-1169
View Object | 15359
Mantle
45-15-271
View Object | 113608
Moccasins
92-12-3A
View Object | 20034
Cuff
37-23-4A
View Object | 12870

NA5389
37-23-5
45-15-807
NA8779
Leggings
NA5389
View Object | 87350
Collar
37-23-5
View Object | 19705
Shoulder Pouch
45-15-807
View Object | 15851
Tray
NA8779
View Object | 89532

32667
37-11-185
Object On Display
43-12-105
B16399
Textile Fragment
32667
View Object | 42688
Incense Burner
37-11-185
View Object | 14091
Textile
43-12-105
View Object | 101878
Bowl
B16399
View Object | 67422

1 - 20 of 92 Objects
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