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
E15721
E634A
E15722
E15726
Pavement
E15721
View Object | 80035
Textile
E634A
View Object | 200428
Pavement
E15722
View Object | 72110
Pavement
E15726
View Object | 72121

35-10-306
NEP43
29-93-46
B15795
Ornament
35-10-306
View Object | 291198
Wall Tile
NEP43
View Object | 255213
Tile
29-93-46
View Object | 86377
Wall Flower
B15795
View Object | 292296

2012-10-4
2012-14-1
52-23-74
52-23-4
Table Mat
2012-10-4
View Object | 87774
Wedding Dress
2012-14-1
View Object | 87851
Mandarin Square
52-23-74
View Object | 132934
Mandarin Square
52-23-4
View Object | 56320

2002-9-2
B17066
NEP6
B17072C
Bandolier Bag
2002-9-2
View Object | 86534
Relief
B17066
View Object | 288354
Textile
NEP6
View Object | 53280
Tumbler
B17072C
View Object | 288629

31-17-74
30-12-436
B16694
B16693
Ornament
31-17-74
View Object | 291097
Hair Comb
30-12-436
View Object | 193216
String of Beads
B16694
View Object | 86616
Hair Comb
B16693
View Object | 85316

61 - 80 of 81 Objects

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