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 81 Objects
37-11-185
B16399
B8905
NEP43
Incense Burner
37-11-185
View Object | 14091
Bowl
B16399
View Object | 67422
Mortuary Statue
B8905
View Object | 76846
Wall Tile
NEP43
View Object | 216328

31-17-74
B17066
Object On Display
31-33-174
43-12-43
Ornament
31-17-74
View Object | 9314
Relief
B17066
View Object | 9199
Baobab Nut
31-33-174
View Object | 53316
Cloth
43-12-43
View Object | 49590

CG910802-8280
CG910802-8279
MS4704.5B
MS3983
Skirt
CG910802-8280
View Object | 50427
Cloth
CG910802-8279
View Object | 50425
Rhyton
MS4704.5B
View Object | 16274
Kylix
MS3983
View Object | 10121

MS556
L-64-23
Object On Display
30-33-119A
MS3342A
Skyphos
MS556
View Object | 126595
Bowl
L-64-23
View Object | 102299
Button
30-33-119A
View Object | 72250
Roundel
MS3342A
View Object | 119054

MS5482A
Object On Display
29-128-2557
Object On Display
2008-13-6
2007-15-1
Pyxis
MS5482A
View Object | 148359
Gem
29-128-2557
View Object | 14208
Hat
2008-13-6
View Object | 56848
Kimono
2007-15-1
View Object | 199822

21 - 40 of 81 Objects

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