Oriental ginger jar and temple jar table lamps are instantly recognisable with their distinctive shape and beautiful patterns depicted on glazed ceramic or porcelain. They make an attractive feature in a room and are often seen in traditional settings.

Table lamps are much more that just a way to add some extra light. Yes, their function is to provide extra mood lighting and brighten up dark corners, but they are equally as much about form and style. The best table lamps will enhance your living spaces even when they are not lit and oriental style ceramic lamps do this perfectly. In this blog we will be looking at ginger jars and temple jars which are the inspiration behind these classic lamps before showing you some of our beautiful Oriental ceramic and porcelain lamps that you can use to enhance your home. They also make wonderful gifts for a special occasion.

  • Origins of Ginger Jars

Ginger jars originated in Ancient China in the Quin dynasty (221-207BC). They were simply rough storage vessels used to keep and transport things such as spices, oils, herbs and salt. Gradually, over time, the jars were embellished with the rich colours and vibrant hand painted patterns that are so characteristic of Chinese ceramics.

During the 18th and 19th century, when they were no longer used for their original purpose, the jars became highly fashionable and collectable. They were re-fashioned into vases and displayed, often in pairs, on mantlepieces and shelves. Demand led to mass production but the original jars remained highly sought after and always commanded the best prices. Original Chinese ginger jars can now be seen in museum collections as well as in private homes.

  • Why Are They Know as Ginger Jars?

They were never originally known as ginger jars. The Chinese simply referred to these uniquely shaped storage vessels as ‘guan’ or jar. The name ginger jar was coined when the jars were used to export ginger to the West.

  • Decorative Ginger Jars

When we think of ginger jars the chances are most of us think of the classic Blue and White Chinese ceramic jars. Traditional blue and white patterns were used to decorate Chinese ginger jars as far back as the 9th century. By the Ming Dynasty in the early 15th century blue and white porcelain had become very popular with the export of ginger jars from China to the West becoming a lucrative business. The popularity of blue and white china and porcelain has continued to this day.

Common decorative motifs on ginger jars included landscape scenes, dragons, floral designs and Chinese carp.

  • What is the Difference Between Ginger Jars and Temple Jars?

The blanket term ‘ginger jars’ is nearly always used to refer to any Chinese style ceramic pots with a lid, but there are some subtle differences.


Classic ginger jars are characterised by their rounded ovoid shape, high shoulders and a slightly rounded but otherwise flat top.

The Arum Lily table lamp from our Empire Table Lamp Collection is a fine example of the classic ginger jar shape. A quality lamp that exudes class and style. It features arum lily flowers with green leaves on a cream glazed porcelain base with a dark wooden plinth. It is supplied complete with the cream polycotton pleated shade.




Temple jars on the other hand are more fishtail in shape and typically have a pronounced lid often with a knob on the top. Some experts believe temple jars were originally made to hold the ashes of the deceased but they were also used for everyday storage in much the same way as ginger jars. The lids were particularly vulnerable to being broken and would have been replaced by matching porcelain or finely carved wooden lids.

Our Ivory Crackle temple jar table lamp illustrates this style perfectly.  This is the larger of the two neutral ivory coloured porcelain lamps which have a crackle glaze finish. Elegant and easy to place with any colour scheme. The lamp is supplied complete with the cream polycotton knife pleat shade illustrated.

  • Ginger Jar Table Lamps

Ginger Jar Lamps are available in a multitude of sizes with very differing patterns and colours and it is not difficult to find one that will work with a particular colour scheme. They can be teamed with a contrasting or matching shade in neutral or warm vibrant colours that will brighten up any dark corner.


The three ginger jar table lamps shown above are from our Empire Table Lamp Collection. This collection showcases high quality designer lamps that exude style and class. It is the attention to detail that sets these lamps apart and they are held in high regard by interior designers and retailers alike.

On the left is the Yellow Flowers table lamp which features pale yellow and purple flowers with green leaves on a cream glazed porcelain base that sits on a dark wooden plinth. It is supplied complete with the cream polycotton pleated shade which is held in place with an aged brass finial.

In the centre is the smaller of the two Morris ginger jar lamps. A more dramatic looking lamp with an intricate gold leaf pattern teamed with gold chevron borders top and bottom all depicted on a glazed black background and sat on a dark wooden plinth. Finally completed with a cream polycotton pleated shade.

The brown and Gold Leaves ginger jar table lamp shown on the right features delicate painted brown and gold leaf pattern over a cream crackle glaze completed with a cream polycotton knife pleated shade held in place by an aged brass finial. 



The two ginger jar style table lamps shown above are from our Guest Designer Lighting Collection and feature the work of Jenny Worrall. Whilst not strictly manufactured in same way as the classic ginger jar and temple jar table lamps these exquisite lamps still have many of the features we associate with them. They are elegant and graceful with a delightful translucent quality. Working from her studio in Devon Jenny designs these beautiful glass table lamps using the traditional Victorian technique of potichomania. Her designs are carefully cut out and the decoupage images are painstakingly applied to the inside of blown glass bases which are then decorated in a variety of paint finishes to create these stunning works of art. 

The Chinese Birds table lamp on the left was inspired by a painting in the archives of the Royal Horticultural Society. The birds along with twigs and leaves are depicted on a soft painted background in distressed gold with hints of palest blue. The lamp is shown with an almond silk pleated Empire shade. All of Jenny’s  lamps are available to order with alternative shades or can be purchased without a shade.

All of Jenny’s designs are inspired by the natural world around us and the small Honeysuckle ginger jar table lamp shown above right is no exception. It features images of trailing honeysuckle on a soft blue painted background with hints of distressed gold and is teamed here with almond silk pleated shade

If you would like to read more about Jenny Worrall and her beautiful table lamps we have an earlier blog dedicated to her work. Simply click below


  • Temple Jar Table Lamps

The more classic shape and design of temple jar table lamps creates an elegant traditional look more suited to period settings. Again, these lamps can be teamed with matching or contrasting shades


The Louise table lamp from our Cambridge Lighting Collection is shown on the right. An elegantly contoured lamp based on a classic temple jar. It is a ceramic lamp with a caramel coloured geometric pattern on a pale cream background supplied complete with the taupe faux silk pleated shade which compliments the lamp perfectly. Easy to place with its neutral colouring.

The temple jar lamp in the centre is the Bird Crackle table lamp from our Empire Table Lamp Collection. It has a delicate pale green leaf pattern depicted on a glazed porcelain background and is teamed with an oyster coloured cotton shade.

On the left is another offering from our Empire Table Lamp Collection. This is the Gold Thistle temple jar table lamp. A traditional Chinese lamp style lamp that just shouts quality. It features a pattern of gold thistle heads and curved gold stems on a cream crackle glazed background with chevron detailing to the top and bottom of the vase. Shown and supplied with the white polycotton shade which is held in place by an aged brass finial. 

  • Blue and White Ginger Jar Table Lamps

Timeless elegance sums up blue and white china. Copied the world over this iconic style has remained popular to this day. If you are a fan of this  coloured china then the classic blue and white Chinese style table lamps would be a great addition to your collection.

The Ginger Jar ceramic table lamp on the right has a flowing blue floral pattern on a white glazed background and a dark wooden plinth. It is paired with a white polycotton shade. Although this is named Ginger Jar it is more of a temple jar shape.

The Blue Willow ceramic table lamp in the centre has a traditional blue willow pattern scene on a white glazed porcelain background and is teamed with a creamy white polycotton shade held in place by an aged brass finial.

On the left is the Hexagonal table lamp which sits on a dark wooden plinth. This lamp features a classic blue Oriental pattern on a white glazed ceramic background and is upplied with a white polycotton shade held in place by a satin nickel finial.

All these three lamps are from our Empire Table Lamp Collection – view the whole collection here – Empire Table Lamps

  •  Modern Ginger Jar Table Lamps

This selection of table lamps have classic temple or ginger jar shapes with a slightly more modern feel.


On the left is the Aidan temple jar shape table lamp . A sophisticated ceramic lamp depicting a vintage horse and groom motif on a subtle pale grey background. Perfect for adding a little extra mood lighting whilst also providing interest when not illuminated. It is supplied with the luxurious dark grey lined satin drum shade – a more contemporary shape shade updates the look of this lamp. Other shade options are available.

In the centre is the colourful  Bertha ceramic base table lamp. A classic temple jar shape, this lamp sits on a dark wooden plinth and the base is decorated with a repeating bird pattern. These crane like birds are in gold with black detailing and shown on a deep red ceramic glazed background. Certainly eye-catching and would make a lovely additional feature in the right room. It is pictured here with a taupe coloured faux silk shade – other options available to order.

The Topeka ceramic base table lamp on the right is shaped like an oriental temple jar and has a pale green base with a hand applied bold flamingo motif. It is shown with a simple cream cotton shade – other shade choices are available.

We hope you have enjoyed reading our blog on Ginger Jar and Temple Jar Table Lamps. Here at Bespoke Light we have a great collection of table lamps for every situation. To see more just click here – Table Lamps

If you cannot find what you are looking for please contact our sales team who will be only to pleased to help.

Oriental Ginger Jar and Temple Jar Table Lamps
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Oriental Ginger Jar and Temple Jar Table Lamps
Beautifully glazed ceramic base table lamps in classic ginger jar or temple jar shape. Chinese Oriental style lamps for traditional homes from Bespoke Lights.
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Bespoke Lights
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