This dish with its extraordinarily chased border is a previously unknown example based on a crucial element of 15th and 16th century princely and domestic silver known as the salva. The salva was used as part of a ceremony by which a drink was served to a person of standing. As with silver made elsewhere in Europe, possessing silver such as the present example was also intended as a show of wealth and status.
While the present dish lacks the raised centre which distinguishes a salva from other vessels, it does share much of the same design. The use of beasts and wild-men as decorative motifs was established in Portugal by the second half of the 14th century, used not only on silver but also in carvings and plasterwork. The meaning of these motifs is discussed at length by J. O. Caetano in the catalogue of the collection of the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (J. O. Caetano, Inventario do Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon, 1995, p. 148-155). He suggests that the wild-men motif was popularised by the transcontinental navigations that were being conducted by Portugal at the time that these dishes were being made.