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 92 Objects
31-33-174
43-12-43
CG910802-8279
CG910802-8280
Baobab Nut
31-33-174
View Object | 53316
Cloth
43-12-43
View Object | 49590
Cloth
CG910802-8279
View Object | 50425
Cloth
CG910802-8280
View Object | 50427

MS3342A
30-33-8A
30-33-119A
30-33-4
Roundel
MS3342A
View Object | 119054
Earring
30-33-8A
View Object | 72098
Button
30-33-119A
View Object | 72250
Chain
30-33-4
View Object | 72088

30-33-5
MS556
MS3983
L-64-23
Object On Display
Diadem
30-33-5
View Object | 72182
Skyphos
MS556
View Object | 126595
Kylix
MS3983
View Object | 10121
Bowl
L-64-23
View Object | 102299

29-128-2557
Object On Display
MS4704.5B
MS5482A
Object On Display
2008-13-6
Gem
29-128-2557
View Object | 14208
Rhyton
MS4704.5B
View Object | 16274
Pyxis
MS5482A
View Object | 3237
Hat
2008-13-6
View Object | 56848

29-201-128
29-201-126
29-201-96
52-23-74
Pottery
29-201-128
View Object | 22540
Pottery
29-201-126
View Object | 22539
Pottery
29-201-96
View Object | 22517
Mandarin Square
52-23-74
View Object | 132934

41 - 60 of 92 Objects

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