Friday, May 1, 2009

Southern Souvenirs: Day 1 - Ginger Jars

Blue-and-white porcelain, or Qinghua Ci, is a 700-year-old Chinese tradition of creating beautiful and graceful vessels that are shaped and glazed by hand and decorated with classic motifs. In the South, we have dubbed these pretty jars, "ginger jars" because some of them were originally designed to hold ginger. The most popular style of ginger jar in the South is blue and white, and most Southern decorators follow the rule of having at least 1 blue-and-white piece in every room of the house. Although blue-and-white is the most popular in the Southern United States, there are many other colors, and each with their own meaning:

Yellow jars
- a traditional gift to China's Emperor, yellow was the Emperor's color and represents a wish for health and long life
Red jars - symbolizes a wish for happiness and prosperity to the recipient
Jade jars - a traditional color for ginger jars
Golden jars - known to be accompanied by elaborate floral motifs
Black jars - often feature chrysanthemum patterns
White jars - a traditional Chinese wedding gift, often bearing the Dragon (the groom) and the Phoenix (the bride) on either side, it offers wishes of happiness, prosperity and fertility to the new couple

It is not only the color that is significant in the different jars, but what is depicted on them as well:
Crane – Long Life
Peacock – Blooming, Bounty
Butterfly – Happiness
Warrior – Safety, Guarding and Protection
Elephant – Good Fortune

I began my ginger jar collection a few years ago and I love finding new and beautiful pieces to add to my collection!

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