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2007/44/1 Covered ginger jar, porcelain / bamboo, China, 1930-1938. Click to enlarge.

Ginger jar with bamboo handle

Made
Pottery was made by the Chinese 5 000 years ago but it wasn't until the 10th century that porcelain was successfully produced. The shape and design of the ginger jar exemplify the grace and beauty that is a trademark of Chinese porcelain. Chinese porcelain is valued for its quality, variety of shapes and attractive decorations that were considered both fashionable and exotic. Jars of this shape became known in the west by the generic term 'ginger jars' because they were often imported …

Summary

Object No.

2007/44/1

Object Statement

Covered ginger jar, porcelain / bamboo, China, 1930-1938

Physical Description

Hand painted white porcelain covered ginger jar with original bamboo packaging and carry handle painted in five colour (wucai) overglaze enamels. The jar features a narrative figure painting depicting an outdoor scene of a traveller being welcomed by the lady of the house, who offers him refreshment. A servant stands behind the lady and carries the refreshment on a tray. A worker feeds the horse with food taken from the carrier, which he has slung across his shoulders. A sword and its sheath rest against the fence.

The dome-shaped cover features a Buddha figure and a dotted pattern in burnt orange on a yellow ground with a narrow burnt orange border. A lattice pattern decorates the neck of the jar in green, yellow and aubergine, interspersed with medallions featuring a geometric design in burnt orange. The base of the jar is decorated in a border of narrow bars in yellow and burnt orange on a green ground.

Marks

Red printed Chinese characters on base of jar read 'Kangxi nianzhi' which means made during the reign of the Kangxi emperor who (reigned 1662-1722) during the Manchu-Qing dynasty.

Dimensions

Height

270 mm

Production

Made

Notes

This jar was made by an unknown maker in China, between 1930-1938.

Pottery was made by the Chinese 5 000 years ago but it wasn't until the 10th century that porcelain was successfully produced. The shape and design of the ginger jar exemplify the grace and beauty that is a trademark of Chinese porcelain. Jars of this shape became known in the west by the generic term 'ginger jars' because they were often imported containing ginger. The Chinese used jars of this or a similar shape for holding a variety of materials or used them purely as ornaments.

This ginger jar was made for the Western market and features good quality porcelain painted with over glaze enamels of a Chinese narrative illustration that depicts the cultural value of providing hospitality to a traveller.

Although the marks on the base of the jar appear to indicate that it was made during the reign of the Kangxi emperor who (reigned 1662-1722), it was produced between 1930-1938 (in China there is a long history of ceramics and other objects being made in the style of an earlier period).

History

Notes

The ginger jar with bamboo carrier was purchased at Farmer's department store (old Grace Bros site, currently Myers) in Sydney, New South Wales. The donor's mother bought the jar containing ginger in syrup from the food department, Christmas 1938. The donor liked the jar and decided to keep it.

The donor worked for the Australian Trade Commission and had a number of postings in Asia including Indonesia in the late 1950s to 1960 and 1967-1971; Japan 1972-1974; Singapore 1975-1977; India end of 1977 to 1981 and China 1982-1985. He was accompanied by his wife.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Peter and Patricia Horne, 2007

Acquisition Date

13 April 2007

Cite this Object

Harvard

Ginger jar with bamboo handle 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 21 September 2021, <https://ma.as/364238>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/364238 |title=Ginger jar with bamboo handle |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=21 September 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}