Pou, globular jars raised on a high foot, first appeared in bronze during the late Erligang period (1400-1300 BC) and continued to be made throughout the Shang dynasty.
The present vessel is similar both in form and decoration to one in the Qing Court Collection illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Bronze Ritual Vessels and Musical Instruments, Beijing, 2007, p. 123, no. 80. Another similar pou, excavated at Xiejiagou, Qingjian county, Shaanxi province, and now in the Suide County Museum, is illustrated in Shaanxi chutu Shang Zhou qingtongqi, Vol. I, Beijing, 1979, p. 71, pl. 67, and again by Li (ed.),The Shaanxi Bronzes, Xi'an, 1994, p. 227, no. 187, where it is dated to the mid-Shang period. See, also, the similar pou illustrated by Wang Tao, Chinese Bronzes from the Meiyintang Collection, London, 2009, pp. 124-125, no. 56. On this latter pou, the eyes of the nine dragons that form the band on the shoulder are smaller, as are the eyes of the taotie masks.