In combination, the arms, armor, and winged head of a cherub depicted on this plate symbolize war—a common theme in the midst of the Great Wars of Italy (1494–1559).
During the Italian Renaissance of the 1400s and 1500s, nobles and merchants eager to express their wealth and sophistication ordered ceramics for dining, display, and storage. Known as maiolica, because it resembled the brightly colored ceramics from the Mediterranean island of Majorca, these ceramic vessels were covered with a tin glaze that provided an opaque white surface on which colorful decoration and coats of arms as well as mythological or literary stories could be painted.
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