The rare taotie-shaped carving was most probably the leg of a vessel, such as the three jade vessel legs (18 cm. high) excavated from a Shang tomb in Xingan, Jiangxi province, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Jades Unearthed in China - 9 - Jiangxi, Beijing, 2005, p. 43.
The trapezoidal ornament is similar in shape to that seen in a line drawing of jades recovered from Shanxi Tianma Qucun, Western Zhou period, 9th century BC, illustrated by J. Rawson, Chinese Jade from the Neolithic to the Qing, British Museum, 1995, p. 52 (left). In the drawing one can see that strings of beads were attached at both ends. See, also, the example with pendent beads excavated from Western Zhou Tomb No. 31, Marquis of Jin necropolis, Quwo, Shanxi province, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Jades Unearthed in China - 3 - Shanxi, Beijing, 2005, p. 95.