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.

21 - 40 of 92 Objects
45-15-271
92-12-3A
NA8779
37-23-4A
Mantle
45-15-271
View Object | 113608
Moccasins
92-12-3A
View Object | 20034
Tray
NA8779
View Object | 89532
Cuff
37-23-4A
View Object | 12870

NA5389
37-23-5
37-11-185
Object On Display
43-12-105
Leggings
NA5389
View Object | 87350
Collar
37-23-5
View Object | 19705
Incense Burner
37-11-185
View Object | 14091
Textile
43-12-105
View Object | 101878

B16701
B16399
29-105-44
Object On Display
31-43-363
Inlay
B16701
View Object | 4468
Bowl
B16399
View Object | 67422
Applique
29-105-44
View Object | 89526
Amulet
31-43-363
View Object | 92124

B17072C
Object On Display
31-17-74
B17066
Object On Display
2001-15-41
Tumbler
B17072C
View Object | 86605
Ornament
31-17-74
View Object | 9314
Relief
B17066
View Object | 9199
Tile
2001-15-41
View Object | 110852

2001-16-20A
43-12-94
51-6-244
B8905
Box
2001-16-20A
View Object | 112360
Hanging
43-12-94
View Object | 240
Bowl
51-6-244
View Object | 3938
Mortuary Statue
B8905
View Object | 76846

21 - 40 of 92 Objects

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