The form of the present carving is based on ritual vessels of the Western Zhou dynasty (c. 1100-771 BC), such as the bronze yi sold at Christie's New York, 21 September 2000, lot 167. While the ancient bronze prototypes typically have four short legs rather than an oval foot, many of the later Ming and Qing interpretations of the form in jade and rhinoceros horn carvings have dispensed with the legs in favour of a stepped foot.
Compare the form and characteristic broad curved spout with a rhinoceros horn libation cup in the Qing Imperial collection, illustrated in Bamboo, Wood and Ivory Carvings, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2002, vol. 44, p. 152, no. 134. The Palace Museum example bears the mark of the carver, Hu Xingyue, and is dated to the late Ming period. For a related archaistic cup also inscribed with the same maker's mark from the present collection, see lot 1814.