On and off demand for decades chinoiserie has been having an undeniable moment, most notably the iconic chinoiserie accents Ginger Jars are being used in modern ways in stylish homes across the world.
Ginger jars are a design classic, irresistibly shapely and decorative in all their blue-and-white glory. This design classic harkens back to the Ming Dynasty, when the porcelain jars were used for everything from basic provisions to urns for honoring the deceased. Lately, we've seen them popping up in all sorts of surprising places. Here's some background and design tips on these gorgeous collectibles.
Things You Need to Know About Ginger Jars:
1. Storage. Who would of thought a jar’s original purpose would be to store spices such as salt, oil, and, of course, ginger (ancient China’s most valuable spice), the beloved ginger jar long ago shed its utilitarian purpose.
2. Lasting Trend. This trend has been around since its revival in the 1600s as a European craze for the blue-and-white Chinese export pieces fueled by budding delftware industry.
3. Not Just Blue-and-White. You can find them in other hues, but the blue-and-white motif is most common, and in our opinion the most inspiring. More recently the monochromatic jars make a more modern statement while still alluding to a traditional profile.
4. Meaning Gifts. Although these jars where intended for storage they where often given as gifts for special occasions, such as weddings. Just like marriage, these jars were intended to last a lifetime.
5. Not Just Jars. You will find ginger jars in many forms. Most commonly they have been used as lamp bases, their sturdy yet attractive shape along with their decorative finishes create an optimal aesthetic. The classic appeal of ginger jars has been inspiration for both artwork and wall-coverings. Sometimes you will find ginger jars reincarnated into potting plants, plates for eating or wall decor, decorative balls, garden stools that can be used inside or out, plus many, many, more!
Ways to Display Ginger Jars:
1. As a Pair. I can’t say enough about the power of pairs. When doubled up, two of anything draws your eyes to the item and creates an effortless sense of order that looks clean and balanced, but not overly decorated. Pushed together a duo of ginger jars create an orderly vignette; separated they can flank a lovely mirror or your favorite piece of art.
2. Topping a Pedestal. Go-to designer favorites, pedestals are often overlooked by everyone outside the “biz.” But there’s no better way to spotlight whatever sits on them. When placed on a pedestal, a gorgeous ginger jar is instantly elevated to museum like status. And if we take a cue from our favorite designers, who constantly think in contrasts (light-dark, textured-sleek), we love how its shapely silhouette complements the hard lines of the pedestal.
3.Standing Alone. Think of a ginger jar and what comes to mind is likely that oh-so classic blue-and-white chinoiserie pattern. But these vessels come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and shades. In a room full of color and pattern, a supersize, solid-color ginger jar stands out. The biggest versions have so much gravitas they can play off other stand-alone items like a single accent chair or garden stool, or two can flank a mantel or a door (even your front door) with aplomb.
4. Put to Work. In a kitchen, they’re a gorgeous step up from basic canisters, and—depending on their material and the seal of their lid—they can hold anything from dry goods to teabags.
Add unique accents in an unexpected space, such as ginger jars in the bathroom or vases as pencil caddies on your desk. Style vessels of varying sizes and shapes but the same palette (you can’t go wrong with blue and white!) in an entryway for maximum impact. Add low-slung Ming-style tables and bamboo seating to a sunny space with lots of greenery for an instant sunroom. Stash a pair of ceramic garden stools below a console table for a splash of color and always-welcome extra seating. And of course, fill an elaborately decorated chinoiserie vase with beautiful blooms to create unforgettable arrangement.
We have an amazing collection of ginger jars right here at Darby Road HOME so be sure scroll through some of these at the bottom, or even better come by and check them out. And don't forget to make an appointment for your free in store design consultation!
-- DRH Style Team