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 16/17thc Antique Chinese Ming Wanli Blue & White Figure Porcelain Ovoid JarBeautiful Genuine Pair Large Antique 19thc Chinese Porcelain Ginger Jars VasesHuge 12" Antique Chinese Famille Verte Porcelain Covered Jar Export Hand PaintedA Fine Blue & White Jar With Dragons Beautiful Antique Chinese Hand Painted Ginger Jar Fenton Cranberry Coin Dot Ginger Jar On PedestalBeautiful Antique Chineseblue And White Prunus Lidded Ginger Jar-wiith MarkAncient Chinese Han Dynasty Pottery Cocoon Jar - 206 BcAntique Chinese Qing Kangxi Susancai Famille Verte / Jaune Zhadou Porcelain JarRare Large Antique 19tc Chinese Qing Famille Rose Thai Bencharong Porcelain JarCinnabar Enamel Carved Lacquer Dark Red Ginger Jar Vase Old Chinese Antique A Large/beautiful Chinese Early 20c Squared Jar/cover In Qianjiangcai-xuantongGood Quality Antique Or Vintage Chinese Porcelain Ginger Jar Well DecoratedBeautiful Large Antique Chinese Famille Vert Lidded Ginger JarBeautiful Large (25cm) Antique Chinese /japanese Famille Noir Lidded Ginger Jar Good 19th C. Chinese Cabbage Leaf Porcelain Jar & Cover W/ InsectsFine Old Chinese Pewter Honeycomb Hexagon Motif Lidded Jar Box SignedVintage Chinese Cloisonne Jar Colorful Flowers Over Green Ginger Jar Royal Lamp vintage Collection Old Handmade A Pair Beautiful Scenery Porcelain JarFine Large Antique Chinese Polychrome Porcelain Jar Marked No Reserve N0243Antique Chinese Ming Blue And White Ginger JarLarge 8 1/2" Antique Chinese Floral Cloisonne Enameled Ginger Jar W/lid Two Vintage Chinese Ginger Jars Unearthed In North Queensland P23Chinese Wood Carved Vermillion Lacquer Lid Jar Container/vessel Tsuishu StyleA Rare/beautiful Chinese 19c Figural Jar/cover In Mirror Black Glaze-guangxuA Facing Pair Of Chinese Famille Rose Jar Vases Figural Iron Red Mark 19th/20thcFine Old Chinese Polychrome Ginger Jar Painted Famille Rose Palette ChinaAntique Early 20thc Chinese Carved Blue & White Cameo Peking Glass Ginger JarAntique Chinese B & W Porcelain Ginger Jar W Cover 19th C Flowers / French Coll.Fenton Ginger Jar Superb Vintage Collectable Old Japanese Geisha Yellow Porcelain JarFine Antique Large Pair Chinese Qing Dynasty Porcelain Ginger Jars 1850 Excellent Royal Copenhagen Ginger Jar, Butterflies, Prunus. Circa 1970. vintage Collection Old Handmade Flowers Birds Powder Enamel Craft Porcelain Jar18th-19th C. Chinese Gilt Black Covered JarA Very Unusual Chinese Polychrome Six-sided Jar With Wooden StandLarge Antique Chinese Ming Or Qing Blue White Bird Porcelain Scenic JarAntique Large Chinese Famille Rose Jar-19th C Vintage Chinese Cloisonne Blue Enameled Lotus Flower Ginger Jar Vase Urn - 6"A Fine Antique Large Famille Rose Chinese Jar-19thcChinese Porcelain Ginger Jar ~ Antique / Vintage ~ Prunus Blossom / Blue & WhiteExquisite Chinese Cloisonne Copper Handmade Flowers JarExcellent Condition Large Chinese Porcelain Ginger Jar Hand Painted Circa 1980sA121: 1930's Chinese Tin Tea Caddy Chaire Container Chagokoro Tea Ceremony, AutoYellow, Blue & White Porcelain Ceramic Ginger Jar VaseFine Antique Chinese Song / Jin Cizhou Ding Type Whiteware Jar & Cover / GranaryVintage Chinese Export Cloisonne Enamel Jewelry Round Dresser Jar Box W/ Lid NrA Beautiful Vintage Circa 1920s/30s Mason's Peony Pattern Harrods Ginger Jar vintage Collection Old Handmade Fine Characters Blue And White Porcelain JarMason's Patent Ironstone England Asian Style Blue & White Lidded Ginger JarBlue Fenton Favrene Ginger Jar, 1999 Connoisseur Col'n #10/1750 Mib With CoaBeautiful Antique Chinese Cloisonne Ginger Jar VaseChinese Famiile Verte Ginger Jar & Cover Powder Blue Ground Kangxi Mark To BaseChinese Blue And White Ginger Jar Decorated With Figures 19th Century? Ring MarkAntique Blue & White Chinoiserie Pottery Ginger Jar Oriental Figures In GardenVintage,antique Chinese Oriental Pottery Ginger Jar Blue Transfer,ochre BandsAntique 19th C Chinese Blue White Prunus Small Ginger Jar Double Ring Mark BaseA Stunning Vintage Circa 1920s/30s Huge Mason's Mandalay Pattern Ginger JarA Good Chinese Porcelain Blue & White 14.5cm "deer & Pine" Jar, 19th/20th C.Highly Unusual Antique Chinese Hand Painted Ginger Jar - Signed Late 1800's