Global Jars: Asian Containers as (Trans)Cultural Enclosures

Vessels of all kinds have long been a favoured topic of research, but jars— vessels for storage—have rarely been studied separately. Even less attention has been paid to the connections between the jars themselves and what they contained. Various Chinese vessels found in European and North American collections are commonly referred to as “ginger jars.” The label is misleading, as it suggests a specific content, while such jars in fact could contain a variety of foreign as well as indigenous fillings or simply be left empty.

This workshop aims to bring together a group of scholars who will all examine jars in relation to their contents. Our approach will be transcultural, meaning that we explore not only exchanges of jars and their contents between Asia and the West but also across Eurasia, integrating aspects of inner-Asian exchanges, interactions between North and South, between the Chinese imperial court and the provinces, and between urban and rural.

All welcome!

Please register at register@sharedtaste.nl

The full and latest programme is available on the 'Shared taste' website.

Provisional list of speakers and respondents:

Eva Ströber, former curator, Keramiekmuseum Princessehof: The Collection of Jars at the Princessehof Museum, and the Various Uses of Jars in Trade and Magic
Pauline Lunsingh Scheurleer, former curator, Rijksmuseum: Imported Pots in Ancient Java. A few examples
response by Jiří Jákl, University of Queensland; IIAS
John Johnston, Hong Kong Baptist University: Classification and Uses of Vietnamese Ceramic Jarlets
Response by William Southworth; Rijksmuseum
Anne Gerritsen, Leiden University; University of Warwick: A Cizhou jar for storing food?
Alexandra van Dongen, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen: Jan van Eyck’s Syrian Jar
Response by Irene Cieraad, Delft University of Technology
Wu Wen-ting, Pablo de Olavide University, Seville
Response by Eline van van den Berg, Keramiekmuseum Princessehof
Concluding remarks by Anna Grasskamp,  Hong Kong Baptist University; IIAS.
Final disucussion


Anne Gerritsen, Leiden University & University of Warwick.
Anna Grasskamp, Hong Kong Baptist University & International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS).

The seminar is sponsored by the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) and the Shared Taste project at Leiden University.

The Shared Taste project is a research project aimed at the development of research-based activities related to the rich history of Asia-Europe exchange, especially in the fields of food and material culture. The project is directed by Anne Gerritsen, Professor of Asia-Europe Intercultural Dynamics and incumbent of the "Kikkoman Chair" at Leiden University. 

The "Kikkoman Chair in Asia-Europe intercultural dynamics, with special attention to material culture, art and human development" is sponsored by the Kikkoman Foundation and the Association of Friends of Asian Art (VVAK).

Image: Piet Mondriaan (1872-1944), Still Life with Gingerpot II,  1912, H91,5 cm W120 cm Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag.