Antique Armorial plates of course get their name from the fact that they were designed to display a families Coat of Arms, or “Amorial”, which were considered a mark of quality and ties to Royal families or services rendered to them. Armorial China came into fashion just about 1710, originally made for the Export market, largely to England. They were considered a status symbol, indicating your family had a history and ties to Royalty.
The armorial designs were made to order in China from drawing submitted by English Import companies, which explains some of the odd looking animals found on these plates, drawn by artists who had never actually seen the real animal. They were made through much of the 18th Century, the plates can sometimes dated fairly accurately by the border type found on the plate. Plates like these tend to be Qianlong period (1736-95). Values for them depend a great deal on their provenance and vintage, with those formerly the property of a famous/Royal family being the most sought after. This pair, with some wear and chipping, sold at auction for $550.00