The object is incised with a number of floral and zigzag designs along with dragon shaped handles. Two sides of the burner are incised with the stylized figure of a dragon. The lid of the object is carved in the shape of a flower and in between the petals, space has been left for the passage of smoke.
The practice of incense burning is the part of Buddhist rituals. It is generally burnt in a Lama's ritual dance or prior to worship. The purpose of incense burning is the purification of the environment. Though the practice of incense burning was not very much prevalent in early Buddhism, with the rise of Mahayana and image worship it has become an essential part of Buddhist ritual and worship.
This description by Dr. Shailendra Kumar Verma, Ph.D. His doctorate thesis being on the "Emergence and Evolution of the Buddha Image (from its inception to 8th century A.D).