The dui is a food vessel which typically has a rounded belly and is supported on three legs. Sometimes it took the form of the present lot without legs, but with a wide splayed foot for support. It was popular in the late Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods. Cleverly designed, its cover, when removed and reversed could act as an independent vessel for serving food.
A line drawing of a dui of nearly identical form is illustrated by J.F. So, Eastern Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, vol. III, Washington DC and Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1995, p. 200, fig. 29.5b. The illustration is taken from Kaogu, 1964, no. 3, p. 120, fig. 9:5. This particular dui is similar in size to the present lot (20.5 cm. high) and was excavated from a Warring States tomb in 1961, in Shanxi province.
Compare, also, the dui of more squat proportions with more abbreviated foot ring, but with similar bands of decoration, illustrated by G.W. Weber, Jr., The Ornaments of Late Chou Bronzes, A Method of Analysis, New Jersey, 1973, no. 32.