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 81 Objects
E3928E
E3928D
E634A
2002-9-2
Rosette
E3928E
View Object | 25287
Rosette
E3928D
View Object | 25286
Textile
E634A
View Object | 200428
Bandolier Bag
2002-9-2
View Object | 86534

43-12-105
51-6-244
35-10-306
B16694
Object On Display
Textile
43-12-105
View Object | 101878
Bowl
51-6-244
View Object | 3938
Ornament
35-10-306
View Object | 76889
String of Beads
B16694
View Object | 189747

B16693
Object On Display
B17072C
Object On Display
B15795
MS5711
Object On Display
Hair Comb
B16693
View Object | 189714
Tumbler
B17072C
View Object | 86605
Wall Flower
B15795
View Object | 9056
Jug
MS5711
View Object | 53616

30-33-4
30-33-8A
30-33-5
2012-10-4
Chain
30-33-4
View Object | 72088
Earring
30-33-8A
View Object | 72098
Diadem
30-33-5
View Object | 72182
Table Mat
2012-10-4
View Object | 87774

52-23-4
52-23-74
2012-14-1
NEP6
Mandarin Square
52-23-4
View Object | 56320
Mandarin Square
52-23-74
View Object | 132934
Wedding Dress
2012-14-1
View Object | 87851
Textile
NEP6
View Object | 53280

61 - 80 of 81 Objects

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