The inscription, which begins with a clan sign in the shape of paired crescents, may be read, 'Yi cast this precious sacral vessel for his deceased ancestor.'
The eight-character inscription cast inside this bronze basin also appears in a bronze he in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (acc. no. 43.25 3a, b), as well as on a bronze ding, both illustrated by Hayashi Minao in In Shu jidai seidoki no kenkyu (In Shu seidoki soran ichi), Tokyo, 1984, p. 208, no. 45 and p. 17, no. 192 respectively. Chen Mengjia discusses the inscription on the bronze he in detail in Yin Zhou qingtongqi fenlei tulu (In Shu seidoki bunrui zuroku; A Corpus of Chinese Bronzes in American Collections), Tokyo, 1977, A329. Chen notes that the he is said to be one of a group of early Western Zhou bronzes believed to have been unearthed in Henan province in 1931; exactly where in Henan province remains open to question, with three different locations having been suggested, all of them within the territory of the ancient state of Wei.