Antique Arabesque Steel Plate with Gold and Silver Inlay
Continental, 19th Century
Dimensions: Height 2cm, diameter 32.5cm
Beautifully crafted from steel with gold and silver damascening, this fine 19th Century plate is profusely decorated with scrolling arabesque detailing. Around the rim of the plate, scrolling foliate vines and flowers are interspersed with four grotesque masks. The centre is similarly decorated, with intertwining scrolls, acanthus leaves, dolphin heads, and swans.
There are also two coats of arms to the centre, which feature crowns and gold bows above. On one of the shields, the top half features a bird with its wings spread wide, with a church building to the bottom half. The other has an angel figure to the left and a double headed eagle to the right. The joining of two coats of arms in this manner often symbolises the joining of two noble families in marriage, so the present plate could have been produced in celebration of a noble wedding.
This manner of decoration is similar to that of Spanish metalworker Plácido Zuloaga (1834-1910). He was renowned for perfecting the damascening technique of inlaying gold, silver, and precious metals into blackened steel.
The plate is signed to the reverse ‘L. De Paoli’.