Most Chinese homes once contained shrines to household deities who had specific domestic or heavenly terrain. Daily or seasonal veneration of these spirits, as well as Buddhist, Taoist, and ancestral worthies, assured temporal worlds would be maintained. The current pair of huanghuali temple-form shrines of substantial size would have been made for an affluent household. When the doors were open, it could hold statutes of deity or tablets commemorating family members and offering of fruit or bowls of rice.
Compare with another huanghuali example illustrated by R.H. Hatfield et al., Chinese Furniture: One Hundred Examples from the Mimi and Raymond Hung Collection, New York, 1996, pp. 238-9, no. 98.