The graph cast under the handle, Zi, may be translated as 'son,' but may also represent the surname of the Shang royal family.
The present jue is stylistically similar to one in the Shanghai Museum illustrated in Zhongquo Qingtongqi Quanji - 3 - Shang (3), Beijing, 1997, p. 20, no. 20. See, also, the very similar jue from the Sze Yuan Tang Collection sold in these rooms, 16 September 2010, lot 817. Unlike the Shanghai Museum jue, the present jue and the Sze Yuan Tang example have the rare inclusion of cicadas in the upright blades.
The inscription on the cover of the zitan box incorporates phrases from two famous historical texts, Lüshi Chun Qiu (Spring and Autumn Annals) and Shangshu (Book of Documents), of the Qin dynasty (221-206 BC) and Warring States period (475-221 BC), respectively, and may be translated: "The ancient record [Lüshi Chun Qiu] states 'being replete but not excessive, thus one can guard one's wealth for long; being elevated but not precarious, thus one can guard one's nobility for long. How could this not warn and alert us?'
The Shu [Shangshu] states 'if you are without any pride and presumption, no one under heaven will contest your merit; if you make no boasting, no one under heaven will contest your capability.'"
The six seals carved on the sides of the box convey various poetic expressions, such as xinghua chunyu Jiangnan (apricot blossom; spring rain; Jiangnan).