The inscription reads: Chou Fu Ding, 'Fu Ding of Chou'.
The character 'chou' appears on several bronze vessels of Shang or early Western Zhou date, often enclosed within the character 'ya' to form a clan symbol. A zhi and a zun from the National Palace Museum, Taibei, bearing the 'Yachou' inscription are illustrated in Shang and Zhou Dynasty Bronze Wine Vessels, Taibei, 1989, p.95 and p.103, no. 17 and no.21. It is thought that the Yachou clan was active around the Yidu county area of Shandong province.
Gui with ribbed decoration appeared in the late Shang Dynasty, but the ribbing on these early examples is dense and short, forming only a band around the bowl. It is not until early Western Zhou that deeply ribbed gui as represented on the present lot appeared. The stylised bird decoration around the neck and base, in contrast to the earlier, more naturalistic rendition of birds, also indicates its dating. Compare a very similar gui in the National Palace Museum, illustrated in Ibid, pl. 28.