Medallions of this type are very rare, and although their exact use appears to be still unknown, all of the published examples have been assigned a Ming date. An example carved on top with a peddler and his cart of wares surrounded by boys at play was sold at Sotheby's, New York, 10-11 April 1986, lot 315. Another carved with an itinerant entertainer flanked by boys is illustrated in Selected Ivory Carvings from the Sir Victor Sassoon Chinese Ivories Trust, Phillips, London, 1999, no. 3. A third medallion illustrated in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 'Chinese Decorative Arts', Summer 1997, p. 42, is dated late 16th-early 17th century based on the similarity of the scene to Ming dynasty genre paintings, and to the inclusion of auspicious emblems on the reverse which relate to late Ming dynasty decoration. As with the present medallion there is the remains of an iron pin in the center of the reverse.