The origin of the word 'kamcheng' is uncertain. It has been interpreted variously as a Hokkien term for 'covered jar' or more literally, 'covered teacup'. In Mandarin, the term translates into 'gai zhong' (盖重, 'covered soup measure'). The kamcheng has various functions and was made in a wide variety of sizes and colours. In general, it was used for storing drinking water, soups, desserts, and pickles for special occasions. The miniature versions were used as cosmetic containers while the largest ones were reportedly used as decorative status symbols for wealthy families.