This piece was made for an Episcopal priest and his wife in Williamstown, MA. The couple already had the copper Tibetan prayer wheel and were looking for an enclosure for it. Tibetan prayer wheels are devices used to spread spiritual blessings and wellbeing. Prayers and mantras are placed inside the wheel. The wheel is then spun.
It's important that there be access to the prayer wheel so it can be spun, and that the top can be lifted in order to add written prayers. The prayer wheel is mounted on a steel rod that sticks out of the top and bottom. The bottom rod goes through the platform into a hole in the post and rests on a nickel that was minted in the same year the couple was married. The nickel provides a base for the rod to rotate on.
The top enclosure is made of cedar with salvaged redwood shingles and is mounted on a cedar post. Both of these woods are extremely rot and insect resistant.
If you would like to learn about Tibetan prayer wheels, there is more interesting information here.