A birth tray depicting the infant Moses
Deschi da Parto, or birth trays, became fashionable in Tuscany in the late quattrocento, forming part of the types of object that were associated with the material culture of childbirth in Italy. Deschi da parto were particularly popular in Tuscany in the 15th century, as they were used as trays to contain gifts of food and were subsequently hung on the walls as decoration (fig.1). From the late fifteenth century until the second quarter of the sixteenth century, wooden birth trays were in considerable demand in Siena. They were sometimes commissioned but often also ready-made with subjects appropriate for the occasion. Although less wealthy people were able to get cheaper versions of these objects, this gilded and elaborately painted example was almost certainly owned by a wealthy family.