Compound cabinets combine a large square-corner cabinet with a small upper cabinet. Fitted with shelves and often times with drawers, their generous size made them ideal for storing long scrolls, fabrics, garments and books. The upper cabinets, accessible only via use of a short ladder, would have contained out-of-season clothing or infrequently used items. Although the upper cabinets are of separate construction, their unfinished undersides suggest that they were an integral part of the design and were never meant to serve as independent pieces of furniture.
The relatively small size and the fact that the sides, top, and back are made from huanghuali rather than camphor, may indicate the present cabinet was not intended to store clothing, but perhaps was intended for a scholar's studio, where it would hold items such as scrolls, paintings, and books. In addition, the luxurious use of precious huanghuali indicates the wealth and status of the owner.