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.

21 - 40 of 81 Objects
NEP43
37-11-185
B8905
31-33-174
Wall Tile
NEP43
View Object | 255213
Incense Burner
37-11-185
View Object | 14091
Mortuary Statue
B8905
View Object | 76846
Baobab Nut
31-33-174
View Object | 53316

CG910802-8279
43-12-43
CG910802-8280
MS3983
Cloth
CG910802-8279
View Object | 50425
Cloth
43-12-43
View Object | 49590
Skirt
CG910802-8280
View Object | 50427
Kylix
MS3983
View Object | 10121

MS4704.5B
L-64-23
Object On Display
30-33-119A
MS556
Rhyton
MS4704.5B
View Object | 16274
Bowl
L-64-23
View Object | 102299
Button
30-33-119A
View Object | 72250
Skyphos
MS556
View Object | 126595

MS3342A
MS5482A
Object On Display
29-128-2557
Object On Display
2008-13-6
Roundel
MS3342A
View Object | 119054
Pyxis
MS5482A
View Object | 148359
Gem
29-128-2557
View Object | 14208
Hat
2008-13-6
View Object | 56848

5827
43-12-161
43-12-123
89-13-148
Plate
5827
View Object | 53459
Informal Robe
43-12-161
View Object | 211174
Informal Robe
43-12-123
View Object | 211163
Platter
89-13-148
View Object | 113384

21 - 40 of 81 Objects

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