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.

41 - 60 of 81 Objects
2008-12-3
5827
2007-15-1
2005-10-46
Plaque
2008-12-3
View Object | 45191
Plate
5827
View Object | 53459
Kimono
2007-15-1
View Object | 199822
Gable
2005-10-46
View Object | 45145

84-6-1
88-10-59A
33-54-66
7532
Wall Hanging
84-6-1
View Object | 85260
Wine Cup
88-10-59A
View Object | 99085
Shadow Puppet
33-54-66
View Object | 113991
Plate
7532
View Object | 53452

66-29-1
43-12-161
CG94-1-99
89-13-148
Plate
66-29-1
View Object | 119462
Informal Robe
43-12-161
View Object | 211174
Scroll Painting
CG94-1-99
View Object | 99994
Platter
89-13-148
View Object | 113384

43-12-123
E15722
Object On Display
E15726
Object On Display
E15721
Informal Robe
43-12-123
View Object | 211163
Pavement
E15722
View Object | 72110
Pavement
E15726
View Object | 72121
Pavement
E15721
View Object | 80035

E11731
Object On Display
32-42-749
92-2-97
E3924F
Inlay
E11731
View Object | 118329
Offering Table
32-42-749
View Object | 77469
Amulet
92-2-97
View Object | 76437
Inlay
E3924F
View Object | 25271

41 - 60 of 81 Objects

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