Ginger jars are identified by their high-shoulders, rounded shapes, small mouths, and domed lids that often continue the piece’s exterior decoration all the way up to the finial. Though ginger jars were initially used to store and transport spices, hence their name, the containers (which usually lack handles) have been used chiefly as decorative objects since the 19th century, when demand in the West for Chinese antiques spurred the export of these pieces to Europe, as well as the manufacture of copycat jars in pottery centers such as Staffordshire.

Some of the decorative treatments on ginger jars have included dragons, carp, landscapes, and florals, either glazed in a rainbow of colors or limited to the blues and whites of flow blue. Because of their wide shape, ginger jars lent themselves to a “rose medallion” treatment, in which florid designs around the jar framed smaller scenes, almost like a graphic novel in porcelain. Today, because the jars are squat, giving them a low center of gravity, they are sometimes converted into table lamps.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

The Bowes Museum: Ceramics

The Bowes Museum: Ceramics

This gallery showcases highlights from the 5,000 items in the museum's ceramics collection dating from 1500-1900. I… [read review or visit site]

Asian Art Museum

Asian Art Museum

You can get happily lost searching through the 10,000 or so objects on the Asian Art Museum's website. For example,… [read review or visit site]

Ceramics at The V&A

Ceramics at The V&A

A great reference on ceramics from the Victoria and Albert Museum. Learn about different ceramics techniques and st… [read review or visit site]

Gotheborg.com

Gotheborg.com

Jan-Erik Nilsson's extensive reference on antique Chinese porcelain. Jam-packed with information (e.g. on porcelain… [read review or visit site]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Nice Antique Chinese Famille Verte Jar W Wood Cover +jade - Kangxi PeriodBeautiful Antique Chinese Kangxi Porcelain Jar With Ribbed Body And Stand Antique Chinese Blue And White Porcelain Jar With Flowers And ScrollingEdward Farmer Antique Chinese Langyao Porcelain Covered Jar W Jade PlaqueOld Chinese Porcelain Jar With Beautiful Enamels And Wood Cover Early 20thPair Large Antique Chinese Blue And White Jars Late 19th C - Early 20th CAntique Chinese Blue & White Porcelain Jar & Lid 10", Kylin, Kangxi Double RingsLot Of Interesting Old Chinese Porcelain Jars Vases EtcAntique 19thc Fine Chinese Painting Porcelain Ginger Jar, Lamp Conversion, NrMoorcroft 1st Class Anemones Impressive Large Ginger Jar Mint Condition Vintage Japanese Meiji Period Porcelain Ginger Jar Lamp Bases W/ Horses No ResPair Chinese Republic Period Cloisonne Ginger Or Tea Jars Black W/ Pink FlowersNicely Painted Antique Chinese Porcelain Jar With Roundels Of DragonsChinese Sang De Beouf Ox Blood Vase Ginger Jar China Signed To BaseAntique Chinese 18th/19th Century Blue & White Prunus Ginger Jar Hardwood CoverNice Antique Chinese Blue And White Jar- Kangxi PeriodNice Old American Beauty Ginger Snaps Nabisco Advertising Container Not Tin Can Collection Old Handmade Pair Precious Elegant Flower Cloisonne Jar/ Box + BaseMuseum Quality Large Chinese Antique Porcelain Jar - Ming Dynasty Large Antique Chinese 19thc Hand-painted Lidded Ginger Jar - With MarkFine Old Chinese Longquan Celadon Glaze Porcelain Lidded Jar Box SignedMoorcroft Shakespeare Line Ginger Jar "winter's Tale" Limited Edition W/boxStunning Large Antique Chinese Blue & White Porcelain Jar Marked Kangxi S6840Lg 9in Chinese Cloisonne Covered Pedestal Jar Famille Rose Export Design MotifChinese Antique 18thc Qianlong Period Blue & White Ginger Jar VaseBlue And White Asian Lidded Ginger Jar Large 14" TallSuper Antique Handpainted Chinese Porcelain Jar And Cover.Fine Antique Huge Pair Chinese Qing Dynasty Cloisonne Ginger Jars Vases 1850 A Very Fine Chinese 18c Famille Rose Jar-yongzhengSuperb Collection Decoration Porcelain Elegant High-grade Flower Jar CupSterlin Silver Wery Old Tea JarVintage Chinese Porcelain Blue And White Hand Painted Lidded Ginger Jar  vintage Collection Old Handmade Cloisonne Vivid Crane Mini Jar   collectable vintage Old Handwork Cloisonne Craft Peony Flower Jar ★★★★★ Fine Signed Antique Chinese Lidded Jar Pewter Brass W Porcelain Interior Signed Antique Chinese Crackle Glaze Lidded Warrior Ginger JarA Perfect Antique Famille Noire Tea Caddy Jar Chinese Porcelain Early 20thcPair Of 5 Clawed Dragons Kangxi Marked Famille Rose Jar Urn Chinese Tea Caddy collectable vintage Old Handwork Cloisonne Unique Mini Jar Ring Box ★★★★★ Collectible Handwork Jingdezhen Porcelain Paint Urban Prosperous Lucky Spice JarHeavy Antique Chinese Pewter Tobacco Jar Engraved Dragons Seal Unusual FinialChinese Jar And CoverVintage Cloisonne Ginger Jar -colorful Birds- Peacock & Flowers - 6" TallAntique Chinese Blue And White Porcelain Prunus Ginger Jar With Lid And StandThriftchi ~ Chinese Hand Painted Ginger Jar W/ Wooden StandChinese Export, 19th C. Storage Jar, LargeChinese Silver Dragon Phoenix Oval Opium Canister Box MarkedNice Chinese B&w Wanli Ming Jar, 17th Century.Antique Chinese Enameled Painted Porcelain Ginger Jar Pot Vase Oriental ChinaCollectable vintage Old Handwork Cloisonne China Phoenix Mini Jar Box ★★★★★Rare & Unusual Cinnabar Decorated Pewter Lidded Tea Caddy Jar Box Nr!!!A Fine Chinese Famille Verte 4 Figures Ginger Jar - Four Character Mark To Base 19th C. Chinese Blue And White Covered JarLovely Japanese Porcelain Hexagonal Mountain Scenes Design Ginger Jar/pot/vaseSuperb Collectable Decoration porcelain High-grade Beautiful Phoenix Peony Jar 19th Century Kangxi? Chinese Ginger JarNice Large Pair Of Famille Verte Jars With Covers, 19th Century, Marked: Kangxi.A Very Nice Pair Of 19th Century Polychrome Ginger Jars Chinese, Qian, Gold Inlay Pewter, Set Of Two, Four Part Stacked Food ContainersLarge Antique Chinese Famille Verte Covered Ginger Jar Phesants Flowers Ca 1910