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 91 Objects
MS5482A
Object On Display
MS556
29-201-128
29-201-126
Pyxis
MS5482A
View Object | 3237
Skyphos
MS556
View Object | 126595
Pottery
29-201-128
View Object | 22540
Pottery
29-201-126
View Object | 22539

29-201-96
2008-13-6
2007-15-1
52-23-4
Pottery
29-201-96
View Object | 22517
Hat
2008-13-6
View Object | 56848
Kimono
2007-15-1
View Object | 199822
Mandarin Square
52-23-4
View Object | 56320

52-23-74
2008-12-2
2008-12-3
7556
Mandarin Square
52-23-74
View Object | 132934
Plaque
2008-12-2
View Object | 45189
Plaque
2008-12-3
View Object | 45191
Carving
7556
View Object | 102247

33-54-66
2003-40-21A
2005-10-46
5827
Shadow Puppet
33-54-66
View Object | 113991
Boot
2003-40-21A
View Object | 44864
Gable
2005-10-46
View Object | 45145
Plate
5827
View Object | 53459

84-6-1
88-10-59A
CG94-1-99
89-13-148
Wall Hanging
84-6-1
View Object | 85260
Wine Cup
88-10-59A
View Object | 99085
Scroll Painting
CG94-1-99
View Object | 99994
Platter
89-13-148
View Object | 113384

41 - 60 of 91 Objects

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