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    

Unusual Chinese Porcelain Colored Jar + Cover 19th C. DragonFine Quality 19th/18th Antique Old Chinese Famille Rose Jar --- Rare!19th C Chinese Porcelain Engriselle Painted Figures Jar And Wooden LidVery Beautiful Chinese Porcelain B/w Jar & Lid With Ladies Kangxi MarkedRare Fine Chinese Porcelain B/w Jar & Cover With Figures Kangxi PeriodCarlton Ware Art Deco Armand Lustre Design Super Shaped Ginger Jar StunningAntique Chinese Blue And White Jar-- With Leaf Mark And StandXxl Large Antique Chinese Prunus & Hawthorn Jar-19thcSmall Fine Chinese Silver Tripod Jar Ca. 1900 MarkedImpressive 19th Antique Old Chinese Famille Verte Jar Xl Large 31cm Via Stand!Antique Pair Of Royal Delft Delftware Blue White Ginger Jars Vase Garniture Yqz19c Chinese Export Blue & White Canton Porcelain Ginger Jar Chyrsanthemums Nores18th C. Sancai Black Ground Covered JarFine Quality A Pair 19th Antique Old Chinese Blue And White Jar --- Large 22cm ! Pair Chinese Antique Cloisonne Jar & CoverFine Old Antique Yongzheng Chinese Blue & White Porcelain Lidded Jar #1Large Antique Porcelain Chinese Tea Canister/ginger Jar With Birds And FlowersOld Chinese Fine Turquoise Glaze JarFine Old Chinese Cloisonne Enamel Gold Gilt Lidded Peony Flower Ginger Jar Vase 2x Antique Chinese Bamboo Cylinder Jars With Carved Script & Figure DecorationPre-1800 Chinese Kangxi Blue & White Jar , Marked With Double RingDoll House Miniature Ceramic Oriental Ginger Jar Large Old Chinese Porcelain Hand Made Covered Canister Jar 1920s Republic MarkLovely Japanese Cloisonne Koro Ginger Jar 4 Distinct Panels, C. 188019th C Chinese Porcelain Colourful Blue Ground Lotus Flowers Jar And CoverAntique 19thc Chinese Hand Painted Rose Medallion Round Box / Jar W/ Handled LidChinese Antique Blue And White JarFine Old Antique Yongzheng Chinese Blue & White Porcelain Lidded Jar #2Antique Hand Painted Chinese Porcelain Ginger Jars, Electric Lamps ... NrAntique Blue And White Ginger Jar / Wedding JarFine Old Chinese Painted Porcelain Double Dragon Decorated Ginger Jar SignedAntique Chinese Famille Rose Rice ContainerAntique Chinese Fine Quality Bone Bovine Spice Container Engraved With Phenix Rookwood Pottery Ginger Jar With Lid 1943 Xliii 1321e - Turquoise BlueA Beautiful Chinese 18c Blue&white Lotus Jar-kangxiFine Old 19thc Chinese Blue & White Lidded Jar - Ex Condition - Superb Old JarAntique Chinese Tea Or Dressing Jar - Figures With Lots Of ScriptAntique Chinese Blue And White Porcelain Jar With Flowers And ScrollingPair Antique Chinese Pewter Tea Caddy Canisters - LargeAntique Chinese Prunus & Hawthorn Jar-kangxi Mark-19thcA Very Fine Chinese 18c Blue&white "precious Objects" Jar-kangxi19th C. Chinese Famille-rose Covered Jar19th Century Chinese Blue And White Prunus Ginger JarVictorian Tip Dug Antique Chinese Pottery Ginger Jar With Blue Print & Pot LidVtg Fenton Winter Shed Barn On Custard Satin Ginger Jar / Handpainted / SignedAntique Chinese Early Qing Or Ming Blue And White JarAntique Chinese Hand-painted Relief Ginger Jar Fine Old Chinese Carved Hard Wood Lid For Porcelain Or Bronze JarAntique Tiny Chinese Cloisene Trinkets Bowl And Canister EnamelCollection Vintage Old Handmade Porcelain Jar Filial Piety Mother Son StoryAntique Delft Covered Ginger Jar 13" With Cows And Farmer Signed J.vrolgh 1906Antique Chinese Famille Rose Medallion Porcelain Ginger/spice Jar W/ Lid3 Piece Vintage Chinese Cloisonné Pair (2) Ginger Jar Lid Tray Quince SwallowNice Vintage Rose Medallion 6" Oriental Ginger Jar Floral Signed Look Wow Nr Unusual 19th/20thc Chinese Figural Ginger Jar Vase Blue White Crackle 14cmVintage Chinese Porcelain Blue White Lotus Stripes Ginger Jar Good Chinese Republic Porcelain Double Phoenix Porcelain Jar A Huge/fine Chinese 19c Blue&white "precious Objects" Jar-guangxuVintage Chinese Oriental White And Blue Prunus Blossom Ginger Jar Double Circle19th Century Chinese Stoneware Ginger Jar Vase.