The development of metal inlay in bronzes of the early Warring States period, circa 470-circa 370 BC, is discussed by Jenny So in Eastern Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, vol. III, New York, 1995, pp. 46-9. So illustrates two early fifteenth-century bronze pear-shaped hu with inlaid scroll patterns similar to those on the present example. The first, fig. 71, is a gold-inlaid example in the Cleveland Museum of Art with bands of dissolved dragon pattern, and the second, fig. 74, in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, is inlaid with copper and turquoise with bands of abstract stepped patterns. Also illustrated, fig. 73, is a bronze cylindrical cup and cover of comparable date, in the Avery Brundage Collection, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, which has lost most of its inlay, but what inlay (possibly copper) does remain in the bottom register illustrates how tightly packed metal strips were used to fill the broad depressions of the design. The same technique of using tightly packed metal strips, instead of thick sheets, to fill the large areas of cast design, was also utilized in the decoration of the current hu.
Like the current vessel, the hu in the Royal Ontario Museum is decorated just above the ring foot with a register of heart-shaped motifs. So illustrates, ibid., p. 48, fig. 75, a fragment of a clay model with similar design recovered from Houma Niucun, providing evidence that Houma was likely a manufacturing center of these inlaid bronzes.