The stand is based on larger incense stands, a common form found in classical Chinese furniture, most often in wood and lacquer, and usually shown bearing incense burners. Lacquered and gilded examples are still to be seen at the foot of throne platforms in several palaces within the Imperial Forbidden City, as illustrated in Zijincheng di hou shenghuo, Beijing, 1982, p. 45. Although those still seen in the palaces usually bear incense burners, and these stands are generally called 'incense stands', they were also used to display fine ornaments, flowers and small scholar's rocks.
Miniature examples, such as the present one in cloisonné, would have been used to display decorative objects, such as jade carvings or ceramics. The hanging scroll Lady Placing Flowers in Her Hair, painted by Jin Tingbiao (d. 1767) and dating to the Qianlong period, shows a small wood stand of similar form supporting an alms bowl and further raised on a full-size square incense stand, illustrated by J. Hay, Sensuous Surfaces: The Decorative Object in Early Modern China, 2010, p. 338, pl.197.
See a related cloisonné enamel incense stand (83.9 cm. high) formerly from The C. Ruxton and Audrey B. Love Collection, sold at Christie's New York, 20 October 2004, lot 703.