Fantastically detailed antique brass tray by the British Metal Co, under the trade name Kinco, circa 1926.
The centre panel of this design is taken from three of the four sides of a stone pedestal that once supported an image of Maitreya, foretold as a future Buddhist Messiah. On the centre piece are two mythical lions guarding an incense urn. The female figure emerging from a lotus supporting the tray is probably Sthavara the goddess of earth. The figure seen on the right hand side of the panel accompanied by two boys is the governor of Wei H’Sien the modern Tai-Ming Fu, in the sixth year of the Cheng Kiang epoch of the Gilat Wei dynasty (524 A.D.). He is followed by attendants holding an umbrella, banner, screens and other symbols of office, one is leading a horse laden with rolls of silk, another an ox harnessed to a cart.
The intervals of the design are filled with conventional birds and flowers, the whole being surrounded by a band of coiled dragons. The tray has a fantastic patination that only comes with age.