The two-character inscription is a Shang dynasty clan sign.
This full-bodied hu, with its flat-cast decoration arranged in registers, is very similar to one with a cover, illustrated by Jung Keng, "The Bronzes of Shang and Chou", Yenching Journal of Chinese Studies, Monograph Series No. 17, Peiping, 1941, vol. 2, pl. 376, no. 709. A hu in the Qing Court Collection, Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 27 - Bronze Ritual Vessels and Musical Instruments, Hong Kong, 2006, p. 144, no. 92, is similar in most respects, but has some variations in the decoration. (Fig. 1) Other related hu include one in a private Japanese collection illustrated by R. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, p. 90, fig. 87; the example in the Sackler Collections illustrated by Bagley, pp. 340-5, no. 58; and the example in the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm, illustrated, p. 343, fig. 58.2.