August 24, 2009

An Unusual Collection of Jars


Fluted Jar for Pi Dan (Century Eggs)

Pi Dan Jars depicting Chinese Legends

A mini dragon jar and an unusal blue pi dan jar.

A friend of mine lives for her children and in her spare time she breeds a large number of dogs and collects Pi Dan and Salted Egg Urns or jars from China.

She told me that she used to drive up to Brunei along the old coastal and sandy road and even to Bintulu just to buy the urns whenever some one gave a tip. Sometimes she made losses because some of the preserved eggs were rotten ! But the worst incident was when the precious urn she bought was stolen and the eggs broken on the road! Her car was broken into just as she went to the washroom.

She said that the thief must have thought that she had a real antique jar in her car which was worth stealing. But then it was just a normal urn made in China which could be easily bought with a load of pi dan!!

Another jar was bought in Brunei when she was expecting her youngest son. The road was bad and it was raining heavily. She was driving alone with two kids at the back who were scared of the waves. She pushed on instead. later she met a friendly couple who stopped to chat with the children and gave her some drinks. What a wonderful incident of friendly travellers who lent a hand to help another soul! Her paleness soon disappeared and she continued to drive on to buy a jar in the shop her friend recommended. Wasn't that a crazy way to collect a pi dan jar she asked.

Now thinking back she has a smile on her face. It was many many years ago and memories fade and she can only look the jars and think of those marvellous days which were full of energy and life!

Strangely I myself never looked at those jars in those days! May be I could have started a collection too. But my priorities thirty years ago were different and again I did not have the space at home for even a small collection.

She often tells me that whenever she is a little tired her jars give her a joy she never expected. She would look at them and dust them a little and think of the good old days.

She has seen me working at my computer and told me that she never grabbed the opportunity to go to school and regretted that she never went to learn a skill either. So she asked me what I would write something about her.

I think this is a very appropriate article to write - about her and her jars.

8 comments:

Bengbeng said...

i have a few such jars myself.. they r not easy to find nowadays.. in terms of utility they r great n whats the word.. very durable? :)

Ah Ngao said...

last time i did collects some wine/liquor bottles,gave them away when i can't find a space for them.to collect something,we must anticipate a space for them,especially if the collections are big stuff becoz,our collection will naturally increases over time.my wife collects Ang Pow - got 3 albums already.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Beng Beng
Yes indeed these pi dan jars are not found nowadays so they are worth something but not yet the value of Blue and White Ming jars.
Hope you keep them well for the next generation.
I am interested in some Nyonya Ware if they are still affordable and available...thanks for visiting.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Ah Ngao
Angpows are very interesting. And there is a big group of collectors at the moment.
Yes you have to have a good space/big house for collectibles. One writer collects different kinds of mirrors...now no more space on her walls....So I think just three walls of mirrors would be good enough.
Collectibles are very interesting and in later years a joy to behold.

Anonymous said...

Hi Madam
We are now on holidays! But the HINI is still hoovering around. Talking about these jars remind me of the many pottery shops in Sibu. May be as a younger generation person I still find it amazing that Chinese factories can produce jars to fit salted eggs in and export them overseas. Impressive.
Kamaliah.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Kamaliah
Hope the holidays and Puasa season are safe and happy.

Younger generations have more things to collect. Long ago we wanted to collect butterflies but we did not have the boxes to keep them. We wished to collect stamps but we ran out of good ones to exchange because we were so poor....the story goes on and on...

When someone finds something to collect he is happy....I collectedd 48 Gipo (soap powder) gift plates and after 35 years I still have 36 them! Smile.

Bengbeng said...

nolah, mine are not valuable. i bought them for RM15.00 each at the centre in Lau king howe road where they sell plants and they had been used to store water n as flower pots :)

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ah Bengbeng

Those dragon jars for storing water are very durable and useful. I wish I have one too. I remember many families have them for rice storing and water storing. They are really good. Later new house owners make coffee tables out of them...
Any more in Sibu for sale?
thanks for writing.