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Every so often we see a decorative piece that toes the line between beauty and absurdity--a work so unexpected, it might be in poor taste if not for its cleverness and pitch-perfect execution. French company iBride's gorgeous animal wall trays fall into such a category.

First spotted at the recently opened Manhattan Mondrian Hotel, these hand-pressed trays depict various animals dressed in old-fashioned European garb and posed as if sitting for rococo portraiture. We love the ornately trimmed Bianca platter ($161), which substitutes a haughty goose for a bejeweled noblewoman. We're equally smitten with Cornelius the monkey ($181), which is straight out of some anthropomorphic colonial India.

Many of the trays--like the plucky Achille ($79) or the reversible Martial/Marius ($126)--have a fairytale-like-feel, but with a postmodern knowingness (old-fashioned portraiture is, by nature, slightly silly) that's decidedly contemporary. Indeed, it's such knowing humor that first drew us in.

Made of high-pressure laminate, the trays are food and dishwasher safe. But as much as we like the idea of serving our guests off a costumed finch, we're more inclined to take advantage of the complimentary wall hook and hang as art.

The lovely El Querido triptych ($502), for instance, proves an excellent conversation piece.

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