University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
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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.


1 - 30 of 81 Records

Pad Saddle

81-28-1

81-28-1

This object is on display

Tray

37-3-1

37-3-1

Leggings

NA5389

NA5389



Mantle

45-15-271

45-15-271

Collar

37-23-5

37-23-5

Tray

NA8779

NA8779



Pincushion

30-1-17

30-1-17

This object is on display

Tray

97-84-176

97-84-176

This object is on display

Pouch

41-24-18

41-24-18

This object is on display


Votive Bowl

38-23-122

38-23-122

Votive Bowl

38-23-123

38-23-123

Pouch

NA8380A

NA8380A



Shoulder Pouch

45-15-807

45-15-807

Applique

29-105-44

29-105-44

This object is on display

Amulet

31-43-363

31-43-363



Slipper

2001-16-3A

2001-16-3A

Incense Burner

37-11-185

37-11-185

Tile

2001-15-41

2001-15-41



Bowl

B16399

B16399

Mortuary Statue

B8905

B8905

This object is on display

Inlay

B16701

B16701



Box

2001-16-20A

2001-16-20A

Textile

43-12-105

43-12-105

Bowl

51-6-244

51-6-244



Cloth

43-12-43

43-12-43

Cloth

CG910802-8279

CG910802-8279

Skirt

CG910802-8280

CG910802-8280



Baobab Nut

31-33-174

31-33-174

Skyphos

MS556

MS556

Kylix

MS3983

MS3983



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