Axes of this type appear to have been made in Northeast China, between the 11th-8th century BC. They were a continuation of a socketed type first made in West Asia, which was introduced into the periphery of China during the 2nd millenium BC.
The same whorl motif can be found on an axe of this type in the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, illustrated by M. Loehr, Chinese Bronze Age Weapons, University of Michigan, 1956, p. 5, fig. 3A; and on another socketed axe head illustrated by E. Bunker et al., Nomadic Art of the Eastern Eurasian Steppes, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2002, no. 42.