Acquired by the present owner in September 1968.
The pictograph reads: (Clan's name) zuo zhu wu bao zun yi, ' Made this precious Zhuwu vessel'.
Compare a gui in The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm, 1969, p. 44-47, B.M.F.E.A., no. 9, 1937, fig. 349, pl. XXXVII; by W. Watson, Ancient Chinese Bronzes, 1962, fig. 39b; Zhongguo Guqing Jingqi Xuan 1976, pl. 11, from the Shanghai Museum; by Umehara, The Collection of Old Bronzes of Sumitomo, p. X; Messrs Eskenazi, Ancient Chinese Bronzes from the Stoclet and Wessen Collections, p. 26, no. 3; J. Rawson, Western Zhou Ritual Bronzes from The Arthur M. Sackler Collections, vol. IIB, p. 393, no. 45, with very similar decoration and animal heads surmounting the loop handles; and the example from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Toeg, sold in our London Rooms, 3 December 1963, lot 184, and sold again, 6 June 1994, lot 68.
The heavy heads on the handles, of a blockish and primitive type, represent the survival of earlier conventions. These origins demonstrated on the handles of probably the earliest surviving gui, excavated at Panlongcheng, Hubei, are illustrated by Rawson, op. cit., p. 393, no. 45.5. Double-handled gui re-appeared in the late Anyang phase (12th-11th century BC); the additional spurs found at the bottom of each handle of the present example continued the style of late Anyang bronzes such as the gui included in the exhibition, Treasures from the Shanghai Museum 6,000 Years of Chinese Art, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1983, Catalogue, no. 18.