Bottles, jars, and wooden items
As this page was getting too long, the ginger jars are now on a separate page. Just click on
GINGER JARS to see the ginger jars in the collection.
Some rarer bottles found in BC-- the double bubble, tiny glass gourd bottle, is hard to find. Take the link, doublebubble, for an anecdote about finding one of these bottles. Also shown is a banjo bottle, a teardrop and an emerald green medicine with gold lettering. Recently (March 2008) three teardrops with a few other small medicines and a larger blue Chinese chemist's bottle sold for $400 on Ebay. One of the teardrops was a tiny perfect dark emerald green. The second teardrop was plain and the third was larger with an embossed head. They all came from the Fresno California Chinatown. These bottles can command a high premium! All the medicine bottles in the collection are shown on the "Medicines, unguents, lotions, herbal" page.
Cobalt blue bottles. These were all dug except the one with the label. Some of these may be Japanese although several were found in an area where there was a large Chinese population and few, if any, Japanese. The bottle with the label is definitely of Chinese origin. There is a "Made in China" label on the front and on the back is a label "Han Pan Shui, Made by the Great Eastern Dispensary Co., Shanghai, China.
Recently the 3rd bottle from the left in the top row and the left hand bottle on the bottom row have been identified as Japanese "NAISU" (nice) hair colouring bottles.
Since these bottles were found in an area in BC where the Asian population was Chinese and we know that Chinese and Japanese have used each others' products interchangeably, it is likely that these had Chinese usage and as such, will remain in the collection.
This Gordon's Dry Gin bottle was pressed into service for some purpose.
Recovered in Butte, Montana in 1972, it has the remnants of a label with a lot of Chinese characters. Perhaps I can get a translation of the visible characters at some time. Until then, it is a bottle of North American Chinese usage and very unique.
These two BIMAL (blown in mold applied lip, ca. late 1800s) bottles are two of three similar bottles found in 2004 in what used to be Chinatown, on the west side of the tracks, in Kalispell, Montana. They were recovered from a buried privy that had one side exposed by a large trench digging hoe. The privy was filled with nothing but Chinese bottles and pots, no other non-Chinese items were found at all. The block had been cleared of a paved parking lot and a few old buildings and the ground breaking was for a retirement home. Sanborn maps show several Chinese dwellings and businesses there around 1900. The floral design on the bottles and where they were found suggests they are of Chinese origin or were at least used by Chinese in Kalispell. The floral pattern consists of vines, leaves, and flowers. One of the bottles has the design inverted with respect to the other.
These two bottles are shown here rather than on the liquor page because the floral design suggests other usage. One possible use could have been for hair lotion or shampoo in a Chinese barbershop.
Cork top glass ink bottles and pottery masters. These came from various locations in British Columbia except for the middle sized pottery ink which came from Arizona. The smaller pottery master at back on the left came from the old Vancouver Chinatown dig. The darker emerald green ink was found in the Merritt Chinese dump. Most of the others came from Vancouver Island. The small pottery ink on the front left is a western ink but was found in the Yale Chinese dump so had Chinese usage--
Two nice Kwong Yune Co screw top inks from Vancouver's Chinatown. The one on the right is an emerald green glass bottle--
Spouted jars come in two shapes, round and square. The square variety, as
found in British Columbia, is thought to have been exclusive to Vancouver Island. The tan brown shade is rare in the square variety and uncommon in the round variety. A green square variety is also known though only a few specimens are thought to exist. 30 years ago a collectables dealer in Victoria, BC told me of 6 green square pots that were in a collection on Vancouver Island, in Nanaimo I believe it was, they had all been found together in one location. There is also one reported in an Eastern Canadian collection. These are thought to have held soy sauce. Some reports say they held vinegar as well. These were all found on Vancouver Island.
On the weekend of 2 March 2013 at the Chemainus Diggers bottle show a green square soy pot was displayed! I believe it must have come from the well known collection in Nanaimo that was sold in auction summer of 2012. It is a shame I never heard about that sale before it happened!!
More spouted jars from BC, of the round type-- different shapes and sizes. The one with the label
is a soy sauce jar as identified by the label. The others are likely soy sauce jars as well. During the bottle digging craze of the early 1970s one could have amassed a huge collection of these pots and all the other smaller varieties which were offered for sale every Sunday in the old drive-in theatre bottle sales in the lower BC mainland and in Victoria. Trelle Morrow's MA thesis and subsequent excellent book Stoneware for Body and Soul is based on data taken from collections having multiples of these and other Chinese pots found in BC. The large spouted jar is from Seattle, Wa. It is 8.5" in diameter and 9.5" tall. More properly shown as a globular jar you can see it on the globular jar page.----
Here are a pair of large vinegar jugs, 10" tall by 6.5" wide at the spout. I'm not sure how old these are but in the day of the plastic container, ANY pottery jug is collectable! The orange pot on the left came from Oregon, a Chinese couple had been using it for vinegar storage when it was acquired in 1999 by my source. The one on the right came from BC. Roy recently obtained one of these that has a label in Chinese and English describing the contents as "vinegar sweetened" and identifying the maker as Pearl River Bridge.
Pearl River Bridge is a state owned food export company since 1954 in China.
The characters on the bottom of the Oregon jug shown above---
I have now obtained one of the Pearl River Bridge jugs with a partial lable showing the contents as "VINEGAR SWEETENED". It was used in BC---
This large heavy storage jar is 13.5" tall and 12.5" wide. There is a similar jar in one of log store building displays in Barkerville's Chinatown, although that one has a brown glaze. You can see another jar the same colour and very similar in shape and markings on the Central Pacific Railway Photographic History Museum page. Another large storage jar much like this one and with similar glaze markings was found by a diver on the Tacoma, Wa., waterfront. This one came from a Chinese store in California.
Here are the four wide mouth jars in my collection, all from BC. These were used for vegetable storage (possibly including ginger and most likely pickled vegetables). The largest is just under 8" tall. They were called "turnip jars" by the bottle diggers:
This page was again getting too long so I have put the globular pots and barrel jars on their own page. Take the link GLOBULAR JARS & BARREL JARS to see this large part of the collection!
Straight-sided jars from BC and Oregon. The green jar and the smallest jar came from Oregon, the others are from BC. The green jar is unique, I haven't seen another in any other collection or illustration. Recently, during a visit by the people from CINARC, I was told they have seen 2 other green straight-sided jars. One is in an Idaho museum, missing the top. The other is in a private collection maintained by an antique shop in Port Townsend, Wa. That one is complete with a top.
Neither of the others had Chinese characters on the bottom. The characters on this jar indicate that it held dried orange peel, possibly used in cooking or as medicine.
Vegetable jars from BC--- there are two types of these, a more cylindrical type with a longer neck and a short squat round type.
Vegetable jar with labels--The round label is from the top of the jar-- Tientsin Preserved Vegetables:
Vegetable jars with characters:
A food jar from Vancouver Island--- 4.75" tall by 3.5" wide, it has 4 Chinese characters and "Zhejaing China" in English around the top. Again, I'm not sure of the age of this pot but, as I've said before, in the age of the plastic container ANY pottery jar is collectable!--
Two miniature spouted jars--- The one on the left was recovered in San Francisco in the 1960s when breaking ground for a new Bank of America building. Until recently, it has been in the home of the man who found it. The other one came from San Andreas, Ca. They are both 3 inches in height.
This miniature spouted jar or pouring pot came from Vancouver's Chinatown.
Miniatures are hard to find. Here is the jar in the above picture with other miniature jars. The two miniature jars on each side were dug in the USA. Many years ago I saw some miniature jars that had been dug on Vancouver Island, almost identical to these, but the owner, who was selling some other pottery items, wouldn't part with them. Roy now has miniature jars in his collection recently obtained (fall of 2013, from a Nanaimo, BC collection sold at auction) and originally found in Cumberland on Vancouver Island. The miniatures illustrated here are in my own collection and highly prized.
Seven bean cake sealers, all with wire bails, manufactured in San Francisco. These are embossed in both English and Chinese. The names of the companies are Quong Yuen Sing & Co., Wing Wah Sing & Co., Sang Yuen Co., Suey Fung Yuen & Co., Quong Hop and Co., and Eng Hung Chi at 132 Waverly Place in San Francisco.
Here are two screw top bean cake sealers from Sang Yuen Co, San Francisco, CA. These were previously unknown to me as I had only seen the wire bail type shown above. I obtained them in January 2012, used in eastern Canada. As you can see in the illustration, the embossing is different on each.
The two moon cake moulds on the left were from the King Cafe. The interior carving does not show up too well but King Cafe is carved in reverse so it will come out correctly on the moon cake. The one on right is over 100 years old. I purchased it in Victoria, BC in 1982. The label reads "Moon Cake mould, over 80 years old local rest." I enjoy these moulds and I know that there are collectors out there who specialize in moulds only. I would love to see their collections. If only more collectors would put their collections online!
These three moulds came from Vancouver Island.
Wooden shipping boxes from various sources in BC:
Two barrels from Vancouver, BC. I was in a large Chinese store in Chinatown many years ago and asked the proprietor if he had any old barrels. He took me down in the basement and showed me the one on the left. I asked if I could purchase it and left with it. I found the one on the right in a junk store.