Incense has an important place in Buddhist rituals, offerings and worship etc. It is burned in different Lamaistic ritual dances; before an icon; and within shrines, altars, and temples. The purpose of the incense burning is generally purification or welcoming someone.
The upper portion of the cover has an embossed border, decorated with a scroll design. The border is followed by two rows of sacred mantras, in Lantsa and Tibetan letters respectively. All the letters of the mantras are bold faced and attached to the body of the holder. The top of the lid is a lotus design, done in low relief openwork, with a coral fixed at the center of the flower. The upper portion of the body of the holder has also an embossed border, decorated with scroll design, within the dotted strips. It is followed by two rows of auspicious symbols: pair of fish, vase, victorious banner, wheel, conch and unbroken-knot. These too are attached to the holder. Below the auspicious symbols, the Buddhist sacred mantras in Lantsa and Tibetan letters, respectively, have been fixed on the body of the holder, within the border of scroll design. The back (bottom) of the holder is plain.
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).