Stupas were originally memorial monuments built over the mortal remains of the Sakyamuni, and other important figures. They represent the past and the present, and a symbol of Nirvana. The unique architectural form of the present example is strongly influenced by Tibetan characteristics. The square Mt. Sumeru base is Tibetan in style, while the rounded dome is Indian in origin. Above is the harmika, consisting of a conical spire of thirteen layers, symbolic of the thirteen stages of enlightenment. This type of objects was used as a ritual ware at the Qing Court frequented by Tibetan monks. A very similarly decorated example from the Qing Court Collection is illustrated in Dihuang Yu Gongting Ciqi,'Emperors and Court Porcelains', Part II, Beijing, 2010, p. 359, pl. 25-14, which features a vase above the canopy.
Several stupa examples of the same form are published. One with a red-ground shrine on a green-ground base was sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 29 April 2002, lot 536. Another with a pink-ground shrine on a yellow-ground base was sold at Christie's London, 3 November 2009, lot 280. A slightly smaller example (38 cm. high) with a yellow-ground shrine supported on a turquoise-ground base was sold at Christie's London, 9 November 2010, lot 330. A further smaller one (27 cm. high) with a white-ground stupa on a red-ground base was sold at Christie's London, 10 May 2011, lot 295.