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.

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B16693
Object On Display
B16694
Object On Display
29-105-44
Object On Display
31-17-14
Comb (Hair - grooming tool)
B16693
View Object | 71509
String of Beads
B16694
View Object | 9226
Applique
29-105-44
View Object | 89526
Bowl
31-17-14
View Object | 86711

2001-16-3A
B8905
B16701
35-10-306
Slipper
2001-16-3A
View Object | 112353
Mortuary Statue
B8905
View Object | 76846
Inlay
B16701
View Object | 4468
Ornament
35-10-306
View Object | 76889

CIVIC1995.X.16158
43-12-43
31-33-174
CG910802-8279
Bark Cloth
CIVIC1995.X.16158
View Object | 14482
Cloth
43-12-43
View Object | 49590
Baobab Nut
31-33-174
View Object | 53316
Cloth
CG910802-8279
View Object | 50425

CG910802-8280
MS556
29-128-2557
Object On Display
30-33-119A
Cloth
CG910802-8280
View Object | 50427
Skyphos
MS556
View Object | 126595
Gem
29-128-2557
View Object | 14208
Button
30-33-119A
View Object | 72250

30-33-4
30-33-5
L-64-23
Object On Display
MS4704.5B
Chain
30-33-4
View Object | 72088
Diadem
30-33-5
View Object | 72182
Bowl
L-64-23
View Object | 102299
Rhyton
MS4704.5B
View Object | 16274

21 - 40 of 92 Objects

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