This spectacular and boldly patterned inlaid tabletop employs the commesso mosaic technique of inlaying various irregular sections of rare colored marbles and semi-precious stones to form a design. Its origins lie with the mosaic-work of ancient Rome known as opus sectile, a tradition which survived in Rome throughout the Middle Ages and was revived in the 16th century when the Renaissance led to a reawakening of interest in the arts of ancient Rome, reusing the rare coloured marbles of antiquity of which Rome itself was such a rich source. This technique also became popular in the Southern part of Italy, especially in Sicily
This strikingly modern design constitutes a central ring issuing four groups of two chains repeated sequentially in siena and bianco e nero marbles. The alternating of the colors is not merely ornamental, but specifically relates to the arms of the Zati family, which originated around Florence in the Tuscan hills in Catenaria, hence the chain motif (the Italian word "catena" translates to "chain" in English). An important branch of the family was established in Sicily by the 17th century, but became extinct around 1760. In the St. Ignazio all'Ulivella Church in Palermo, the Chapel of the Madonna della Salute has a coat of arms of the Zati family in yellow and black marble and a balustrade in the same colored marble, which repeats the chain motif of the family. This mosaic work, dated to the 17th Century, demonstrates a close connection to the mosaic on the present lot.