Sacred plates with a circular well in the centre to hold sweetmeats. They were painted for bridal festivities by Maestro Georgio, Orazio Fontane, and other artists of Urbino and Gubbio, Pesaro and Pavia, Castelli and Savona, Faenza and Ferrara, and all the other art towns of Italy. These plates were hung upon the walls, and looked on with superstitious awe as household gods. They were painted in polychrome, and the chief design was some scriptural subject, like Rebecca and Isaac.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894