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
51-6-244
B17066
B15795
29-93-46
Bowl
51-6-244
View Object | 3938
Relief
B17066
View Object | 85261
Wall Flower
B15795
View Object | 9056
Tile
29-93-46
View Object | 86377

35-10-306
31-17-74
43-12-105
30-33-8A
Ornament
35-10-306
View Object | 278022
Ornament
31-17-74
View Object | 9314
Textile
43-12-105
View Object | 101878
Earring
30-33-8A
View Object | 72098

30-33-4
30-33-5
2012-10-4
2012-14-1
Chain
30-33-4
View Object | 72088
Diadem
30-33-5
View Object | 72182
Table Mat
2012-10-4
View Object | 87774
Wedding Dress
2012-14-1
View Object | 87851

52-23-74
52-23-4
2002-9-2
NEP6
Mandarin Square
52-23-74
View Object | 132934
Mandarin Square
52-23-4
View Object | 56320
Bandolier Bag
2002-9-2
View Object | 86534
Textile
NEP6
View Object | 53280

B16694
B16693
B17072C
30-12-436
String of Beads
B16694
View Object | 189747
Hair Comb
B16693
View Object | 189714
Tumbler
B17072C
View Object | 86629
Comb (Hair - grooming tool)
30-12-436
View Object | 193216

61 - 80 of 81 Objects

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