Due to the fact that the most common materials for plate manufacturing have been porcelain, stoneware and glass, it is of no surprise the fact that ceramic plates as such have been part of human history for millenia now. With a diversity of manufacturing specific to every culture, ceramic plates do have common features even when they belong to societies on two different sides of the world: one first common trait lies in the decorative patterns used, and a second one in the burning process the raw materials undergo before the ceramic plates as such are created. Even if ceramic plates were initially used only for eating and for certain ritual ceremonies, they are presently having a serious decorative function as well.
Floral, natural, geometric and thematic designs are the most frequent decorations found on ceramic plates; they are either part of the folk tradition or they are entirely tributary to the creativity of the artist who created them. Blue dragons for instance are specific to the most exquisite Chinese ceramic plates, the oldest and therefore most valuable models are considered antiquities and part of the cultural heritage of China. Even when exposed in a museum or in a fine private collection, such ceramic plates speak not just of culture and tradition, but of hidden symbols that the ancients were specialized in.
Spirals, the tree of life, stars and various geometric shapes are common to ceramic plates from many cultures; in their decoded meaning, this kind of ceramic plates actually reveal man's preoccupation with the secrets and truths of life in its complexity. The oldest ceramic plates are considered anonymous art work or very fine examples of craftsmanship, and they often speak of a hidden history to which very few people still have access. This makes it understandable why many ceramic plates are presently purchased for decorative purposes first and foremost.
According to general appreciation rules, the finest ceramic plates ever are those manufactured from Chinese porcelain, according to ancient traditions secretly preserved from one generation to the other. After the opening of the trade routes towards the Far East, the first Chinese ceramic plates seen by the Western world arrived in the 14th century, and set a certain manufacturing trend that tried to closely imitate their fine design and the elegance of their style. On a general basis, ceramic plates are unanimously considered the best dishware one can use, and nowadays they are must-have items in any household.