Unlike war, peace has always been ephemeral. Although often sought, peace has rarely been attained or maintained for long. Throughout human history, successful periods of peace were negotiated, new alliances were formed, and gifts were exchanged to solidify new relationships. However, peace with one group often brought an ally to confront another adversary and such peace was usually short and tenuous. Rare intervals of extended peace, such as the Tokugawa peace in Japan during the Edo period between 1603 and 1868, and the Iroquois Confederacy of the 16th to 18th centuries, are more often the exception than the rule.
Typically, feasts and formal ceremonies have been important to the peace-making process, but such activities rarely leave distinctive objects. With few exceptions, the objects involved in transacting peace have been gift items rather than specialized works of art.