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    

Fine Quality 19th/18th Antique Old Chinese Famille Rose Jar --- Rare!Unusual Chinese Porcelain Colored Jar + Cover 19th C. DragonRare Fine Chinese Porcelain B/w Jar & Cover With Figures Kangxi PeriodVery Beautiful Chinese Porcelain B/w Jar & Lid With Ladies Kangxi MarkedAntique Chinese Blue And White Jar-- With Leaf Mark And StandCarlton Ware Art Deco Armand Lustre Design Super Shaped Ginger Jar StunningImpressive 19th Antique Old Chinese Famille Verte Jar Xl Large 31cm Via Stand!Small Fine Chinese Silver Tripod Jar Ca. 1900 Marked2x Antique Chinese Bamboo Cylinder Jars With Carved Script & Figure DecorationAntique Pair Of Royal Delft Delftware Blue White Ginger Jars Vase Garniture YqzXxl Large Antique Chinese Prunus & Hawthorn Jar-19thc18th C. Sancai Black Ground Covered JarFine Quality A Pair 19th Antique Old Chinese Blue And White Jar --- Large 22cm !19c Chinese Export Blue & White Canton Porcelain Ginger Jar Chyrsanthemums Nores Pair Chinese Antique Cloisonne Jar & CoverFine Old Chinese Cloisonne Enamel Gold Gilt Lidded Peony Flower Ginger Jar Vase Fine Old Antique Yongzheng Chinese Blue & White Porcelain Lidded Jar #1Fine Old Antique Yongzheng Chinese Blue & White Porcelain Lidded Jar #2Antique Hand Painted Chinese Porcelain Ginger Jars, Electric Lamps ... NrOld Chinese Fine Turquoise Glaze JarLarge Old Chinese Porcelain Hand Made Covered Canister Jar 1920s Republic MarkLovely Japanese Cloisonne Koro Ginger Jar 4 Distinct Panels, C. 1880Chinese Antique Blue And White JarAntique Chinese Crackle Jar-kangxi Mark-18thcAntique Japanese Totai Tree Bark Cloisonne Over Porcelain Ginger Jar No ReserveAntique 19thc Chinese Hand Painted Rose Medallion Round Box / Jar W/ Handled LidDoll House Miniature Ceramic Oriental Ginger Jar Pair Antique Chinese Pewter Tea Caddy Canisters - LargeRookwood Pottery Ginger Jar With Lid 1943 Xliii 1321e - Turquoise BlueA Beautiful Chinese 18c Blue&white Lotus Jar-kangxiFine Old Chinese Painted Porcelain Double Dragon Decorated Ginger Jar SignedVictorian Tip Dug Antique Chinese Pottery Ginger Jar With Blue Print & Pot LidAntique Chinese Prunus & Hawthorn Jar-kangxi Mark-19thcAntique Chinese Tea Or Dressing Jar - Figures With Lots Of ScriptAntique Chinese Fine Quality Bone Bovine Spice Container Engraved With Phenix A Very Fine Chinese 18c Blue&white "precious Objects" Jar-kangxiAntique Chinese Blue And White Porcelain Jar With Flowers And ScrollingAntique Chinese Hand-painted Relief Ginger Jar 19th C. Chinese Famille-rose Covered JarCollection Vintage Old Handmade Porcelain Jar Filial Piety Mother Son StoryAntique Chinese Early Qing Or Ming Blue And White JarGood Chinese Republic Porcelain Double Phoenix Porcelain Jar 3 Piece Vintage Chinese Cloisonné Pair (2) Ginger Jar Lid Tray Quince SwallowAntique Delft Covered Ginger Jar 13" With Cows And Farmer Signed J.vrolgh 1906Imari Porcelain Urn Or Ginger Jar Japan No Marks19thc Chinese Hand Painted Rose Medallion Round Box / Jar Antique Chinese Famille Rose Medallion Porcelain Ginger/spice Jar W/ LidA Huge/fine Chinese 19c Blue&white "precious Objects" Jar-guangxuUnusual 19th/20thc Chinese Figural Ginger Jar Vase Blue White Crackle 14cmAttractive Famille Verte Jar In Perfect ConditionVintage Chinese Porcelain Blue White Lotus Stripes Ginger Jar Fine Old Chinese Carved Hard Wood Lid For Porcelain Or Bronze JarArthur Wood Chinese Ginger Jar Dragon Pictorial Hand Gold Gilt Decoration & LidFenton Purple / Aubergine Ginger Jar Lid Large Shelley Ginger Jar And Cover Superb Collection Vintage Old Handmade Cloisonne White Dolphins Jar BoxDoll House Miniature Ceramic White & Blue Ginger JarChinese Blue And White Style Porcelain Jar —— Boy & Pine & YearVintage Antique Carved Cinnabar Lacquer Ginger Jar Pair Republic Period 1950s Ken Edwards Mexico Hand Crafted Ginger Jar With Bird & Butterfly