The stout oval-bodied you, an important wine vessel for religious rituals in the late Shang Dynasty, did not appear until the first century of the Anyang period (1300-1028 BC). The sophisticated decorative style found on the current vessel, with its captivating taotie masks and its well-proportioned shape, place it in the mid to late Anyang period. This particular vessel is notable for the single-graph inscription to the base, referring to a clan name.
A number of examples of similar form to the current vessel, but with flanges and leiwen ground are known. See a slightly smaller you of comparable proportions to the current lot in the Sackler Collection, illustrated by R. Bagley in Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Washington D. C., 1987, p. 372, no. 64. Another you of similar size and form also dating to the Late Shang dynasty was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 29 May 2013, lot 2172.