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Jar: C.710 & A-1991

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Object information

Current Location: In storage






Ginger jar with turned, domed wooden cover. Hard-paste porcelain painted in underglaze blue. The ovoid body tapers towards the slightly countersunk, unglazed base and is painted with magpies (?) flying amongst bamboo, peony and rocks. The neck is unglazed.


History note: Purchased from Eastwood & Holt, October 1923, for £3.15s.0d; Henry Scipio Reitlinger (d. 1950); the Reitlinger Trust, Maidenhead, from which transferred in 1991.

Legal notes

Bequeathed by H.S. Reitlinger, 1950; transferred from the Reitlinger Trust, 1991.

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 23 cm
Height: 27.8 cm

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1950) by Reitlinger, Henry Scipio


17th Century#
Circa 1600 CE - 1644 CE


Label text from the exhibition ‘Feast and Fast: The Art of Food in Europe, 1500–1800’, on display at The Fitzwilliam Museum from 26 November 2019 until 31 August 2020: 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.

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamel ( blue)
Cover composed of wood (plant material)
Jar Height 26.3 cm

Materials used in production

except neck and base Glaze
Hard-paste porcelain

Techniques used in production

Glazing (coating)

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: rectangular with red border

  • Text: O.E.
  • Method of creation: Inscribed
  • Type: Label

Inscription present: serrated, white, round

  • Text: 557a
  • Method of creation: Inscribed
  • Type: Label
  • Text: 403
  • Location: On cover
  • Method of creation: Inscribed in pencil
  • Type: Inscription

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.710 & A-1991
Primary reference Number: 21215
Old object number: CHICER/257
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 24 November 2020 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Jar" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-19 23:05:07

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{{cite web|url= |title=Jar |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-19 23:05:07|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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