It is unlikely that dishes such as these two, which were decorated using the laborious and expensive carved-lacquer technique, were ever used to serve food. Rather, they were items of display, and may have been used to hold or to offer to guests items such as wrapped confections. The deep, dense carving of the lacquer helps date the pair to the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century. One dish is decorated with tree peonies set above lotuses; the other, with gardenias overlapping roses.
Florence and Herbert Irving , New York (until 2015; donated to MMA)