The current lot takes its shape from ritual wine vessels (gu) of the Shang dynasty (c. 1600-1100 BC). One of the most recognizable of all archaic bronze forms, gu date to as early as the Erlitou phase, circa 2000 to 1500 BC, at which time they were a simple slender beaker, which eventually evolved into the elegant trumpet-mouthed vessel of the late Anyang period of 12th-11th century BC date. While the decoration on the current lot is derived from that which appears on Shang period bronzes, the stylization of the elements is typical of Qing dynasty interpretations.
See a similar jade fanggu with loop and ring handles and a taotie decorating the central portion of the body, illustrated by S.C. Nott, A Catalogue of Rare Chinese Jade Carvings, Florida, 1940, p. 20, no. 21. A related, though much smaller white jade example without handles, is illustrated in Jade: Ch'ing Dynasty Treasures, National Museum of History, Taipei, 1997, no. 95. See, also, a smaller dark green jade fanggu inscribed with a six-character Qianlong fang gu (after the antique) mark, also without handles and with raised flanges along the body and edges, sold in these rooms, 20 March 2001, lot 47.