Dishes decorated with the laborious and expensive carved lacquer technique, such as these two, were probably never used for dining. Instead, they were displayed and used to offer guests items such as confections. The deep, dense carving of the lacquer helps date this pair (most likely part of a larger set) to the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century. One shows tree peonies set above lotuses, and the other gardenias overlapping roses.
Florence and Herbert Irving , New York (until 2015; donated to MMA)