Deeply embossed scrollwork relief fills the center of this small plate, and tiny repoussé figures of late Gothic wild men and animals amid foliage appear in a hunting scene on the rim. The lavish decoration of this plate is characteristic of a group of Portguese plates and vessels of the fifteenth century, and reflect the general tendency of this period of toward abandoning simple motifs in favor of more elaborate and complicated designs. Later Portuguese examples generally depict scenes of a more classical nature such as the history of Troy. Larger dishes of this type were intended to be used as basins made as sets with equally sumptuous ewers, but the small size of this example precludes such a possibility. So small a plate, called a salva in Portuguese, would hardly have been intended for regular service use at the table, although it might, on special occasions, have served as a dish for a few choice pieces of fruit.
Marking: P in square; PC in square (or DC?); at (or BI?) in square.
Edward Alfred Jones(sold 1912)
New York. The Cloisters Museum & Gardens. "The Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle Ages," March 28, 1975–June 15, 1975.
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. "Earth, Sea, Sky. Nature in Western Art: Masterpieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 6, 2012–January 4, 2013.
Beijing. National Museum of China. "Earth, Sea, Sky. Nature in Western Art: Masterpieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 8, 2013–May 9, 2013.
Husband, Timothy B., and Jane Hayward, ed. The Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle Ages. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975. no. 62, pp. 58-59.
Gómez-Moreno, Carmen, ed. Medieval Images: A Glimpse into the Symbolism and Reality of the Middle Ages. Katonah: Katonah Museum of Art, 1978. no. 36, pp. 12, 22.
Boardman, Phillip C., Marcia Cohn Growdon, and Francis X. Hartigan, ed. Culture of the Middle Ages: A Festival of the Medieval Arts. Treasures of the Middle Ages. Reno, Nevada: Sierra Nevada Museum of Art, 1978. no. 34.
Husband, Timothy B. The Wild Man: Medieval Myth and Symbolism. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1980. no. 29, pp. 120-121, fig. 73.
Barnet, Peter, and Atsuyuki Nakahara, ed. Earth, Sea, Sky: Nature in Western Art – Masterpieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Tokyo: Yomiuri Shimbun, 2012. no. 30, pp. 82, 219.