Blue & White Eight Treasures Temple Jar
The term, 'Temple Jar' was coined by western buyers of those Chinese export jars, which in China are referred to as a jiangjun guan (general or marshal jar), due to the resemblance of the cover with its finial to an army general's helmet. This jar shape first appeared in Jiajing through Wanli (1522-1620) reigns of the Ming dynasty, and it became quite popular during the Kangxi period (1662-1722). It is also known to many collectors today as a 'Baluster Jar' because of its baluster-like form. The word baluster refers to an architectural 'turned vase' shape common in balcony and stair case rails. As a porcelain ware, this specific shape began as an elongated covered jar in the early 18th century, as part of decorative 'garniture' sets originally made for the Dutch Market. These sets were made in a matching series of similar vases and lidded jars which could be combined in sets of three, five, or seven.
The wider fuller form Baluster Jar -or- Temple Jar, depicted here originally evolved from the hu (jar) shape in bronzes dating back to the Chinese Han dynasty. Lidded jars of this fuller form, were widely used as wine or water jars in Macao during the late Ming dynasty.
This hand painted Chinese blue and white porcelain temple jar and cover is raised on a spreading foot with a scrolling ground decorated with the Eight Treasures, also known as the Eight Precious Things, or babao in Chinese. The jar's shoulder bears four molded foo lion masks just under the Chinese meandering 'Greek Key' fret border encircling the collar. The Eight Treasures are a small, but popular subset of a much larger list and decorative pattern of the Hundred Treasures, also known as the Hundred Antiques which became popular in the 17th century and is commonly found in Chinese art during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911).
The Eight Treasures on this baluster jar are each supported on a cloud, above and below key fret borders on the lid rim and collar. This jar makes for a wonderful statement piece near an entry way, fireplace, or any room where you want to add a classic design element to your home.