One of the most interesting sets of china owned by the Washington family is the "States" china. Martha Washington's initials, set upon a starburst, serve as the central motif on the Chinese porcelain plate, and it is the inspiration for this 24-karat gold-finished brass ornament. The sunburst is encircled by a chain enclosing the names of the fifteen states, a design that Dutch American collector, Everardus van Braam Houckgeest adapted from the fractional dollars issued by the Continental Congress in 1776. The chain symbolizes strength and union, a sentiment echoed by the motto "Decus et Tutamen ab Illo," which is translated as "a glory and defense from it." Noticeable is the unusual spelling of some of the states.