University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Zhuang Embroidered Jacket [Object of the Day #20]

By: Stephen Lang

One of the newest acquisitions in the Asian Section is a collection of ethnographic textiles from the Philadelphia Civic Center Museum formerly known as the Commercial Museum. Originally exhibited at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris, the approximately 400 pieces entered the museum and expanded the range of the textile collection to include South China, Indochina, […]

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Collections Website 2.0

By: Michael Condiff

In December 2011 we launched the Penn Museum Collections Website which gave the world access to more than 665,000 objects. It was the culmination of a massive effort from museum collections staff, I.T. staff, the Registrars Office and upper Management to get the data migrated from one collections management system to another and have it […]

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Pomo Basket [Object of the Day #19]

Pomo Basket

By: Amy Ellsworth

The Pomo people lived along the parts of central and northern California for thousands of years before European settlers came in 1850. The name Pomo simply means “people.” Both Pomo men and women weave baskets, but their styles and the function of the basketry may vary. At the turn of the 20th century, Pomo women […]

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Sumerian Copper Goat Head [Object of the Day #18]

Sumerian Copper Goat Head

By: Amy Ellsworth

This inlaid goat’s head was made in the Early Dynastic III (2550–2250 BCE) in Iraq. The range of the markhor goat, known for its spiraling horns, has historically covered Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northern India. This piece, created by lost-wax casting, is one of two goat heads acquired during the 1899–1900 campaign at […]

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Seated Luohan from China [Object of the Day #17]

Seated Luohan

By: Stephen Lang

The Penn Museum’s luohan is one of the most famous and important pieces in the museum’s collection. The fact that it is slightly larger than life size makes it a marvel of technology. Firing something so big  is extremely hard to do without destroying the piece in the process.  The modeled  facial features also imply […]

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Bronze Figure of Silenus Riding a Wine-Skin [Object of the Day #16]

Selenus Riding a Wine-Skin

By: Amy Ellsworth

This bronze figure of Silenus riding a wine-skin is a reproduction from Penn Museum’s Wanamaker Bronze Collection. This collection includes reproductions of the bronzes found at Pompeii and Herculaneum from the National Museum of Naples. The original was made in Naples before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE. Originally, the sileni (plural) were […]

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Aten Relief from Amarna, Egypt [Object of the Day #15]

Aten Relief

By: Amy Ellsworth

During the Amarna period in Egypt in the 18th Dynasty, the heretic Pharaoh Akhenaten lead a religious revolution that reduced Egypt’s pantheon from a multitude of Gods, to just one, the Aten, or the Sun God. This quartzite shows Akhenaten with his eldest daughter Meretaten. The block originally belonged to the pylon gateway of a […]

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Hawaiian Feather Cloak [Object of the Day #14]

Hawaiian Feather Cloak

By: Amy Ellsworth

Cloak consisting of bundles of red and yellow feathers tied in overlapping rows to a netted foundation of plant fiber.  Such cloaks were items of aristocratic regalia, worn by only the highest ranking noble men in ancient Hawaii.  They were signifiers of rank, and provided sacred protection in battle.  It is thought that originally these […]

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Handaxe 300,000 BCE [Object of the Day #13]

Handa

By: Amy Ellsworth

Neandertal flintknappers throughout Europe, the Near East, and Africa would prepare a core in such a way that they could produce a single flake (removed from this piece) of a specified size and shape. Bifaces are the characteristic tool of the Lower Paleolithic. Early hominids of Eurasia and Africa would shape these pieces by removing […]

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Female Figurine from Iran [Object of the Day #12]

Woman Figurine

By: Amy Ellsworth

This ceramic female figurine from Tureng Tepe, Iran was made around 3500 BCE. She is a burial offering and although she is not clothed, she is adorned with many bracelets, necklaces and an elaborate headdress. Penn Museum Object #32-41-25. See this and other objects like it in the Penn Museum Collections Database.

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