Ginger Jars

What is a Ginger Jar? A classical ginger jar is characterized by its rounded ovoid shape and high shoulders. The term “ginger jar” is a Western invention. In China, the shape is simply called “guan,” or jar, and they were used to store herbs.

The ginger jar originated in the days of the Qin Dynasty (221 BCE-207 BCE) as a storage receptacle for spices like salt and ginger. When ginger became a chief export to the Western world, the vessels in which it was stored and transported became known as “ginger jars.” Spices are very rarely stored in them today. They are more likely to be used as vases, as decorations, or as collectible items to display.

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