we recently went to nicaragua where we bought a beautiful wooden tray, dark wood which looks like it may have had an initial treatment of some sort, but still a matte feel to it (sorry - i have none of the appropriate vocabulary for this!). On top there is a design painted and I am not sure what type of paint it is. I would like to use the tray but am afraid of the design being scratched off and would like to put a top coat of some sort on but am not sure if there are certain things i need to be considering so as not to ruin the tray and design. any help appreciated.
I'd say show it to someone who knows how to tell what's already on it, whether it is oil/wax based or another sealant. If it turns out to be oil/wax on it, pure tung oil (take care not to get a tung oil based blend with warnings all over it) or myland's wax may be good options.