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
84-6-1
88-10-59A
CG94-1-99
E11731
Object On Display
Wall Hanging
84-6-1
View Object | 85260
Wine Cup
88-10-59A
View Object | 99085
Scroll Painting
CG94-1-99
View Object | 99994
Inlay
E11731
View Object | 118329

E3928E
E3924F
E3928D
E15721
Rosette
E3928E
View Object | 25287
Inlay
E3924F
View Object | 25271
Rosette
E3928D
View Object | 25286
Pavement
E15721
View Object | 80035

E15722
Object On Display
E15726
Object On Display
38-23-122
38-23-123
Pavement
E15722
View Object | 72110
Pavement
E15726
View Object | 72121
Votive Bowl
38-23-122
View Object | 86468
Votive Bowl
38-23-123
View Object | 86623

2005-13-1
45-15-807
81-28-1
Object On Display
NA8380A
Blouse
2005-13-1
View Object | 10719
Shoulder Pouch
45-15-807
View Object | 15851
Pad Saddle
81-28-1
View Object | 154033
Pouch
NA8380A
View Object | 27908

2000-16-1
NA5389
NA8779
92-12-3A
Collar
2000-16-1
View Object | 13238
Leggings
NA5389
View Object | 87350
Tray
NA8779
View Object | 89532
Moccasins
92-12-3A
View Object | 20034

21 - 40 of 92 Objects

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