You might not know them by name, but you’ll certainly recognize these blue-and-white ceramics.
Ginger jars are a design classic, irresistibly shapely and decorative in all their blue-and-white glory. Lately, we’ve seen them popping up in all sorts of surprising places. Here’s some background on these gorgeous collectibles.
- They started out as storage pieces.
Originally a vessel for storing precious spices in ancient China, the beloved ginger jar long ago shrugged off its utilitarian purpose.
- A 1600s trend ignited an entire industry.
A European craze for blue-and-white Chinese export pieces fueled the budding delftware industry, which churned out Far East-inspired items to meet demand.
- In the 1960s, the jars became popular again among design connoisseurs.
McMillen, Inc. designed an airy ginger jar-dotted room for the imitable Babe Paley in the Bahamas. Said Paley to antiques designer John Rosselli: “You can never be too rich or too thin or have too much blue and white.” Today, these ceramics are still used as visual shorthand for luxurious yet classic interiors.
- You can find them in other hues, but the blue-and-white motif is most common — and the most inspiring.
Designer David Hicks translated the perennially popular accessory into his graphic Vase pattern. It became an instant classic, inspiring jar-adorned fabrics to this day.
- They’ve earned a spot in the The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Don’t miss the current blockbuster show about Chinese aesthetics in high fashion.
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