Nowadays this form is called by its descriptive name qiaotouan, or 'everted end recessed leg table', but the late Ming style-maker Wen Zhenheng termed it bizhuo, or 'wall table', as it was commonly used against a wall to display works of art or to hold offerings.
The current table is a remarkable example of late Ming furniture, not only because of the fine and precise workmanship, but also due to its perfectly balanced dimensions and fine timber used in its construction.
Various examples of similar tables are published, where the openwork panels at the ends are very finely carved with dragons, phoenix and other mythical creatures. See for example a jichimu qiaotouan formerly from the Museum of Classical Chinese Furniture Collection illustrated in Wang Shixiang et al., Masterpieces from the Museum of Classical Chinese Furniture, Hong Kong, 1995, pp. 112-3, no. 53, and sold at Christie's New York, 19 September 1996, lot 59; and again at Sotheby's New York, 14 September 2011, lot 126. Compare also a qiaotouan with phoenix spandrels exhibited at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, In Pursuit of Antiquities, Thirty Fifth Anniversary Exhibition of the Min Chiu Society, Hong Kong, 1995, illustrated in the Catalogue, no. 242; and a pingtouan with phoenix spandrels illustrated by G. Wu Bruce, A Choice Collection, Chinese Ming Furniture, Hong Kong, 2011, pp. 98-99. A huanghuali table in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts with more elaborately carved phoenix spandrels is illustrated by R. Jacobsen and N. Grindley in Classical Chinese Furniture in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, 1999, no. 42.
Refer to S. Handler's article, 'Side Tables, a Surface for Treasures and the Gods', in Chinese Furniture: Selected Articles from Orientations, 1984-1999, Hong Kong, 1999, pp. 200-9, where she discusses the role of this type of table, both as a side table as well as a domestic altar table.