Few periods in Chinese history were as vital and glorious as the T'ang dynasty (618-707). It was a period of enormous prosperity and creativity in the visual and literary arts. Although gold and silver had been worked in China since the Shang dynasty (1900-1027 b.c.), the 'ang dynasty's precious metalwork overshadows all previous periods. Its gold and silver demonstrates a full repertoire of innovative shapes, delicate designs, and technical brilliance. This rare plate stands on three stump feet. The interior is decorated with a central ring surrounding a peacock standing on a lotus blossom. The remainder is filled with lotus scrolls, birds and leafage within which cavort several varieties of birds. The bird and tendril designs are enhanced with gilding and the background is ringmatted.