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.

1 - 20 of 92 Objects
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32-42-749
E15721
E15722
Object On Display
E15726
Object On Display
Offering Table
32-42-749
View Object | 77469
Pavement
E15721
View Object | 80035
Pavement
E15722
View Object | 72110
Pavement
E15726
View Object | 72121

38-23-122
38-23-123
45-15-807
2005-13-1
Votive Bowl
38-23-122
View Object | 86468
Votive Bowl
38-23-123
View Object | 86623
Shoulder Pouch
45-15-807
View Object | 15851
Blouse
2005-13-1
View Object | 10719

2000-16-1
81-28-1
Object On Display
NA8380A
92-12-3A
Collar
2000-16-1
View Object | 13238
Pad Saddle
81-28-1
View Object | 154033
Pouch
NA8380A
View Object | 27908
Moccasins
92-12-3A
View Object | 20034

NA8779
NA5389
32667
45-15-271
Tray
NA8779
View Object | 89532
Leggings
NA5389
View Object | 87350
Textile Fragment
32667
View Object | 42688
Mantle
45-15-271
View Object | 113608

45-15-1169
37-23-5
37-23-6
37-23-4A
Whip
45-15-1169
View Object | 15359
Collar
37-23-5
View Object | 19705
Pouch
37-23-6
View Object | 17013
Cuff
37-23-4A
View Object | 12870

1 - 20 of 92 Objects
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