The inscription cast inside this vessel can be found in a number of Chinese compilations, including the Zhuiyizhai yiqi kuanshi kaoshi, juan 4.12, compiled by Fang Junyi (1815-1899). There is some difference of opinion regarding the number of characters included in the complete inscription; John C. Ferguson presents a tentative reading of fifteen characters in his Lidai zhulu jijin mu, Changsha, 1939, p. 850. According to Ferguson, the inscription opens with a cyclical date, yiwei, followed by reference to an unidentified king and mention of cowries - presumably a royal gift - that provided the recipient with the means to have the bronze cast.
Liding of this type were common during the late Anyang and early Western Zhou period, and several vessels similar to the present example are illustrated by R. W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, 1987, pp. 486-93, nos. 93-5, as well as excavated examples, pp. 488-9, figs. 93.2 - 93.7.