Incense burners of this form were intended as part of the furnishing in the throne room. Several examples of similar pagodas in cloisonné enamel or entirely in bronze are illustrated in the Catalogue, The Forbidden City, Palace Museum, Beijing 1993: pl.24 depicts a pagoda with cloisonné and champlevé enamel decoration with a dragon climbing up the column; pl.52, with a similar pair in situ flanking the imperial throne in the Palace of Heavenly Purity; pl.85, a smaller cloisonné enamel pair in the main room of the Palace of Concentrated Beauty; and pl.106 with another large pair of bronze and gilt-bronze pagodas on either side of the throne in the Hall of Mental Cultivation.
Cf. also a very similar cloisonné enamel pagoda parfumier with gilt dragon illustrated in International Exhibition of Chinese Art, The Royal Academy of Art, London 1935-36, p.170, pl.2014; a pair of turquoise-inlaid gilt-bronze incense burners of this form in the Shenyang Museum, one of the pair illustrated by R. Thorp, Son of Heaven: Imperial Arts of China, Seattle 1988, no.38; a pair from the Palace of Harbouring Grace, illustrated by Holdsworth and Courtauld, The Forbidden City: The Great Within, p. 69; and a pair included in the 1996 exhibition at the Musée du Petit Palais, Paris, La Cité Interdite, Paris 1996, and illustrated in the Catalogue, p.164.
A very similar pair was sold in our Hong Kong Rooms, The Imperial Sale, 27 April 1997, lot 89; another single one was also sold in our Hong Kong Rooms, 30 October 2001, lot 621.
See an interesting pair of gilt-bronze and cloisonné enamel pagoda parfumiers with similar 'clouds' patterns but without the gilt dragons sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 25 april 2004, lot 334.