A large safavid blue and white Baluster Jar. Safavid Iran, 17th century. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2012

On short slightly splayed foot rising to wide rounded body and tapering cylindrical neck with slightly flaring rim, the white surface painted in light and dark shades of cobalt-blue with black outlines with large floral sprays bordered above by a register of scrolling palmettes and below by a register of rosettes interspersed with stylised cloudbands, foot decorated with scrolling floral vine between black ruled borders, neck with Chinese-style landscape with trees, river and bridges, areas of restoration to neck, otherwise intact; 19¾in. (50.2cm.) high. Lot 180. Estimate £20,000 - £30,000

Notes: This monumental Safavid jar is one of only very few of this size recorded. In her seminal work on the Safavid pottery in the Victoria and Albert Museum, Crowe refers to only two large jars - one of which is significantly smaller than ours (Yolande Crowe, Persia and China. Safavid Blue and White Ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1501-1738, London, 2002, nos.248 and 249, p.156). The larger of the Victoria and Albert jars, which stands at 53cm. high, is decorated with a double lattice of flowers which Crowe suggests draws on the potter's knowledge of Kirman carpet design (Crowe, op.cit., no.248, p.156). Our potter however seems to have been much more heavily influenced by Chinese motifs, particularly in the very stylized landscape around the neck.

A Safavid jar of similar size but with decoration that was not quite as strong in colour and with its original neck missing, was recently sold at Sotheby's, London, 5 October 2011, lot 251. 

Christie's. Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds, 26 April 2012. London, King Street