The inscription reads: Chi Shou Zu Ding, 'Zu Ding of Chi Shou'.
The rubbing of an identical inscription, also on a bronze zun, is illustrated in Yin Zhou Jinwen Jicheng, 'Complete Collection of Yin and Zhou Bronze Inscriptions', Shanghai, 1993, vol. 11, no. 5714. Although no image of the zun is illustrated, by comparing the inscription to the one on the present lot, it is very probable that they are from the same bronze. The rubbing of the inscription was taken around the 1900s and the piece was reputed to have been in the collection of Chen Chengqiu, who was the father of the Guangxu Emperor's teacher, Chen Baocheng.
The taotie decoration on the present lot displays characteristics descended directly from Anyang-period motifs. Its simple and unarticulated shape also suggests a relatively early date. This is exemplified in its almost parallel sides, slightly raised mid-section, subtly curved mouth and base, and un-modelled foot. Compare a closely related example illustrated in J. Rawson, Western Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collection, vol. IIB, Massachusetts, 1990, p.549, no. 79.