It is unusual to find a complete garniture set, made up of censer, vase and covered box, in cloisonné enamel. The burning of incense was an important part of many Chinese rituals, from as early as the Han dynasty, and a set like this was popular as part of the paraphernalia for a scholar's studio from the Ming dynasty onwards. The small box was used to store incense in strip, coil or pellet form, and the tool vase was used to accommodate implements such as chopsticks and spatula to rake or smooth the bed of ashes in the censer. A cloisonné enamel incense set with a spatula, was sold in our Hong Kong Rooms, 1 November 2004, lot 962.
See also examples of complete sets made of other materials illustrated in A Special Exhibition of Incenser Burners and Perfumers Throughout the Dynasties, National Palace Museum, Taipei 1994, nos. 82-89.