The inscription reads: zuo baoyi, 'made this precious vessel'
The present lot is representative of a large family of gui that was popular during the late Shang and early Western Zhou periods. In contrast to the earlier examples with animal-mask decoration covering the whole surface, the decoration on the present lot is restricted to bands at the foot and around the neck; gui with handles also only became common towards the late Shang.
Compare a related gui illustrated in J. Rawson, Western Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collection, Massachusetts, 1990, p. 405, no. 48, which has very similar shape and identical band decoration around the neck, but with different band around the foot.
The result of thermoluminescence analysis report, Oxford C103f77, with samples taken from the core material inside the handles, is consistent with the dating of this lot.