A plate is a broad, concave, but mainly flat vessel on which food can be served. A plate can also be used for ceremonial or decorative purposes. Most plates are circular, but they may be any shape, or made of any water-resistant material. Generally plates are raised round the edges, either by a curving up, or a wider lip or raised portion. Vessels with no lip, especially if they have a more rounded profile, are likely to be considered as bowls or dishes, as are very large vessels with a plate shape. Plates are dishware, and tableware. Plates in wood, pottery and metal go back into antiquity in many cultures.
Plates are commonly made from ceramic materials such as bone china, porcelain, glazed earthenware, and stoneware, as well as other traditional materials like, glass, wood or metal; occasionally, stone has been used. Despite a range of plastics and other modern materials, ceramics and other traditional materials remain the most common, except for specialized uses such as plates for young children. Porcelain and bone china were once luxurious materials but today can be afforded by most of the world's population. Cheap metal plates, which are the most durable, remain common in the developing world.
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