Thrones were used in a variety of settings, including palaces, temples and at the imperial court. The subject matter on the current example, with five-clawed dragons in gilt lacquer decorating each surface of the interior, would place this throne in a group of furniture associated with nobility.
See the exhibition catalogue, Louis Comfort Tiffany and Laurelton Hall: An Artist's Country Estate, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2006, p. 289, for an illustration of a lacquered wood throne chair from Tiffany's collection. The current example was used in the exhibition as a comparison. See, also, J. Ferguson, Survey of Chinese Art, Shanghai, 1940, pl. 179, for an illustration of a throne chair in situ in the Hall of Fasting, Old Palace Museum.