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.

61 - 80 of 92 Objects
30-33-119A
30-33-8A
30-33-4
30-33-5
Button
30-33-119A
View Object | 72250
Earring
30-33-8A
View Object | 72098
Chain
30-33-4
View Object | 72088
Diadem
30-33-5
View Object | 72182

2008-13-6
29-201-128
29-201-126
29-201-96
Hat
2008-13-6
View Object | 56848
Pottery
29-201-128
View Object | 22540
Pottery
29-201-126
View Object | 22539
Pottery
29-201-96
View Object | 22517

89-13-148
2007-15-1
52-23-4
52-23-74
Platter
89-13-148
View Object | 113384
Kimono
2007-15-1
View Object | 199822
Mandarin Square
52-23-4
View Object | 56320
Mandarin Square
52-23-74
View Object | 132934

7556
33-54-66
5827
2008-12-2
Carving
7556
View Object | 102247
Shadow Puppet
33-54-66
View Object | 113991
Plate
5827
View Object | 53459
Plaque
2008-12-2
View Object | 45189

2008-12-3
2003-40-21A
CG94-1-99
2005-10-46
Plaque
2008-12-3
View Object | 45191
Boot
2003-40-21A
View Object | 44864
Scroll Painting
CG94-1-99
View Object | 99994
Gable
2005-10-46
View Object | 45145

61 - 80 of 92 Objects

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