Acquired in July 1991.
The inscription on the interior of the cover and base, which is identical, reads
Yi [tian tian] Fu Kui
which may be translated as
"[Made] in the Yi year, [dedicated to the honourable] Fu Kui"
Fu Kui was the posthumous title of the Shang King's father.
Compare the Gang Jie you published in Jessica Rawson, Western Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, vol. IIB, Cambridge/MA, 1990, Fig.72.1, which is very closely related to the present lot. Rawson, op. cit., p. 517, notes that elliptical you of this shape were predominant in the second half of the early Western Zhou; the Gang Jie you from the Brundage Collection is among the earliest examples of the new shape. Its decoration of vertical ribbing and birds refers to the ornament which is typical for Shang-period you with handles across their short axes. This decoration is also found on an early Western Zhou zun, op. cit., fig. 72.2. The vertically ribbed decoration is also found on other Western Zhou vessels, such as the Kang Hou gui illustrated in Jessica Rawson (ed.), The British Museum Book of Chinese Art, London, 1992, pl. 34 and a yu illustrated by Pope et.al. in The Freer Chinese Bronzes, p. 209, pl. 53.