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Feast & Fast

The Art of Food in Europe, 1500 – 1800

84: Baluster vase (‘ginger jar’)

Baluster vase (‘ginger jar’)with birds, peonies and bamboo, and cover Bulbous containers like this are traditionally called ‘ginger jars’. Made in China, their porcelain bodies and lids were painted with various decorations, including birds and flowers as seen here, under-glaze in blue. From the late eighteenth century, it became fashionable to display them. However, it is not clear whether they actually ever stored ginger. While too large to store powdered ginger, they could have been made to export the root preserved in syrup.

China, c.1600 – 44

Hard-paste porcelain (vase); wood (cover; replacement)

H.S. Reitlinger Bequest, 1950; transferred from the Reitlinger Trust, 1991 (C.710 & A-1991)

Baluster vase (‘ginger jar’)
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