The twenty-eight drawers are considered a reference to the twenty-eight constellations.
The rings at the base were intended to secure rope around the chest for the purposes of transportation.
See a similar example illustrated by Wang Shixiang, Classic Chinese Furniture: Ming and Early Qing Dynasties, Hong Kong, 1986, pp. 236 and 303, no. 159.
See also, Wang Shixiang, Connoisseurship of Chinese Furniture: Ming and Early Dynasties, vol. I, Hong Kong, 1990, pp. 94-5, for a discussion on apothecary chests.