nl en
Piet Mondriaan, 'Ginger jar', 1912 (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York)

Workshop ‘Global Jars’- 11 April in Leiden

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.

The workshop is jointly organized by Anne Gerritsen (Leiden University & University of Warwick) and Anna Grasskamp (Hong Kong Baptist University & International Institute of Asian Studies). For more information, see

All welcome! Please register at


13:00-13:05 Introduction by Anne Gerritsen (Leiden University & University of Warwick)
13:05-13:35 Eva Ströber (former curator, Keramiekmuseum Princessehof)
The Collection of Jars at the Princessehof Museum, and the Various Uses of Jars in Trade and Magic
13:35-13:45 Pauline Lunsingh Scheurleer (former curator, Rijksmuseum)
Imported Pots in Ancient Java. A few examples
13:45-13:50 Response by Jiří Jákl (University of Queensland & International Institute for Asian Studies)
13:50-14:00 Q&A
14:00-14:30 John Johnston (Hong Kong Baptist University), Classification and Uses of Vietnamese Ceramic Jarlets
14:30-14:35 Response by William Southworth (Rijksmuseum)
14:35-14:45 Q&A
14:45-15:00 Coffee and tea break
15:00-15:30 Anne Gerritsen (Leiden University & University of Warwick), A Cizhou jar for storing food?
15:30-15:35 Response by Fan Lin (Leiden University)
15:35-15:45 Q&A
15:45-16:15 Alexandra van Dongen (Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen), Jan van Eyck’s Syrian Jar
16:15-16:20 Response by Irene Cieraad (Delft University of Technology)
16:20-16:30 Q&A
16:30-17:00 Wu Wen-ting (Pablo de Olavide University, Seville)
“Jiangjun Guan” and its trajectory in the global history (late 17th-19th century)
17:00-17:05 Response by Eline van van den Berg (Keramiekmuseum Princessehof)
17:05-17:15 Q&A
17:15-17:30 Concluding remarks by Anna Grasskamp (Hong Kong Baptist University & International Institute of Asian Studies)
17:30-18:00 Final Discussion


Matthias de Vrieshof 3, Room 104 (Verbarium), Leiden University