I always wondered why they’re called ginger jars. After all, who uses THAT much ginger?
A ginger jar is a Chinese porcelain jar with a wide mouth, a domed lid and a bulging, spherical body. Although the Chinese traditionally used the jars to store a variety of goods, the jars acquired the name “ginger jars” because they often contained ginger when they were exported to the West.
Historically, ginger jars held provisions, including not just ginger but salt, oils and other spices. In the West, ginger jars are mostly decorative rather than functional. Read more
The different colors and motifs on ginger jars have traditional meanings. For example, white jars were wedding gifts and and yellow jars were intended as the most valued gifts, often to the Emperor. Here’s a good synopsis.
Now I know, and now I have a resale mission: using a collection of ginger jars as a canister set on my kitchen counter. Or maybe I’ll look for one to turn into a lamp.
If you love ginger jars too, go find some you love at your favorite consignment, resale or thrift shop!
Get inspired by the shapes and materials you can find in ginger jars.
Learn something new every day, like the term “ginger jar”.