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    

Antique Chinese Porcelain Blue And White Figures Ginger Jar Vase Kangxi Period?Art Deco V Large Carlton Ware Bleu Royale Enamel Dragonfly Water Lily Ginger JarAntique Chinese Cloisonne Jar And Cover C.1900Large Chinese Porcelain Jar Antique 18c Pair Of Chinese Asian Wood Reticulated Jar Tops Covers LidsLarge 19th Century Chinese Antique Dragon Pattern Jar Tea Caddy Kangxi Style Fine Old Chinese Signed Orange Peking Glass Covered Jar Scholar Work Of ArtA Pair Of Chinese Antique Longquan Porcelain Jars Song/yuan Dynasty Fine Chinese Porcelain Jar Kangxi Mark And StandChinese Tongzhi Period Famille Rose Covered Jar, 1856-1875A Pair Of Chinese Blue And White Porcelain Jars And Covers Large Antique 19c Chinese Blue And White Porcelain Ginger Jar Cover Kangxi 30cmFine Old Chinese 19th Porcelain Blue And White Covered Bowel Jar Container #1Fine Chinese Blue And White Dragon Jar Jiajing Mark 18th C. Chinese Famille-rose Seven Kids Ovoid Covered JarWoods & Son Frederick Rhead Formosa Pair Of Ginger Jars Charlotte Art Deco VaseGood 18th C Chinese Porcelain Famille Rose Floral Jar - Circle MarksA Large/fine Chinese 19c Famille Verte/power Blue Jar/cover-guangxuFine Chinese Doucai Jar Jiajing Mark Fine Old Chinese 19th Porcelain Blue And White Covered Bowel Jar Container #2Fine Old Chinese Signed Inscribed Carved Horn Container Tube Scholar ArtAntique Chinese Export Famille Verte Asian 19c Pair Of Porcelain Jars Antique Stoneware Storage Jar Changsha Type Fishbowl Planter Jardiniere Huge YqzAntique Chinese Blue & White Pottery Prunus Design Ginger Jar Hand PaintedFine Chinese Dragon Porcelain Jar Jiajing Mark Fine Chinese Porcelain Jar Qianlong Mark Large Antique Old Chinese Cinnabar Lacquer Carved Jewelry Box Cosmetic JarA Perfect Large High Quality Antique Chinese Blue & White Prunus Porcelain JarAntique Chinese Celadon With Raised Blue & White Figures Ginger JarVintage Chinese Lg Blue & White Porcelain Double Happiness Ginger Jar/urn W/lidA Chinese Antique Blue And White Porcelain Jar, Qing DynastyOld Signed Chinese Famille Rose Tea Caddy Jar - Birds & FlowersVintage Tg Green Cornishware Ginger Canister Blue & White Stripe Banded W/lid Fine Chinese Blue And White Jar Jiajing Mark A Chinese Antique Famille Rose Scroll Jar, Hundred ButterflyAntique Pair Of Hand Painted Oriental Chinese Table Ginger Jar Lamps PorcelainPortmeirion Botanic Garden Susan Williams - Ellis Mistletoe 12" Ginger JarBlue And White Porcelain Chinese Vases Jar Lot Not Marked Matching SetFine Chinese Famille Rose Jar Qianlong Mark Rare Pair Of Chinese Blue And White Cracked Ice Covered JarsLarge Late 19th Century Chinese Yellow Ground Ginger JarAntique Chinese Blue And White Porcelain Ginger Jar, Carved Wooded Cover KangxiStunning Antique Chinese Famille Rose Porcelain Jar Marked Qianlong Rare L8302Rare Antique Chinese Qianlong Mark Underglaze Blue Red Dragon Porcelain Jar19th.c Chinese Blue And White Tea JarChinese Porcelain.famille Verte Ginger Jar, On Stand.Lovely Quality Chinese Blue And White Ginger JarVintage White And Blue Floral & Turkey Ginger Jar Urn Decanter Made In JapanVintage Chinese Cinnabar Carved Vases & Round Container With Lid"b" Lot Of Two 19th Century Chinese Antique Prunus Jar Tea Caddy Kangxi StyleAntique Chinese Crackle Glazed Jars -19thcOld Collectible Handwork Painting Blue And White Porcelain Tower Jar OrnamentsWomen's Ginger Jar Light Pink Tunic With Crocheted Owl 3/4 Sleeves Size 3xFenton Custard Glass Cabin Scene Ginger Jar Hand Painted By Alice Farley"a" Lot Of Two 19th Century Chinese Antique Prunus Jar Tea Caddy Kangxi Style19th/20th C. Chinese Iron-red Glazed Covered JarFine Antique Chinese Blue And White Porcelain Jar Rare G7408Antique Chinese Asian Hawthorne Kangxi Mark Porcelain Prunus Ginger JarChinese Red Jun Porcelain Art High-grade Household Adornment Tea Storage Jar BoxCloisonne Flower Goose Small Storage Jar Chinese Vintage Collectible Old Hand