The inscription may be translated, ‘The faithful [Buddhist] Li Cimeng and wife Zheng made this well as a donation, praying for peace and safety, the twelfth month of the fourth year of the Shaoxi reign (1193).
The attractive green patina seen on both the interior and exterior of the elegantly bowed walls is the result of a combination of age and nature. Also reflecting the age of the well head are the multitude of indentions along the inner edge which have been worn into the stone by the thousands of times ropes hauling buckets of water were pulled over the rim.
For a stone well head of octagonal shape see Sarah Handler, Ming Furniture in the Light of Chinese Architecture, Berkeley, 2005, p. 71. One can see that the faceted sides have a gentle curve similar to that of the present example. The author also illustrates, pp. 70-71, the painting Gazing Garden in which a similar faceted well head can be seen at far left.