After the Shang were conquered by the Chou around 1028 b.c., two of the most noticeable changes which occurred in bronze casting involved the eventual exclusion of the t'ao-t'ieh
motif, and the use of long inscriptions. The new rulers apparently chose to do away with the mask, the major religious-political symbol of the previous dynasty. Accordingly, elaborate bird motifs often comprised the main decorative registers of early Chou vessels, as is the case with this kuei. The present vessel is also important for its lengthy inscription, which is neatly cast into the cauldron's bottom and reads as follows:
The King attacked Chi-yu and then Nao-hei. When he returned, he conducted the Liao sacrifice at Tsung-chou and presented (to me) [Kuo Po] ten double strings of cowries [money]. In order to extol the King's benevolence and to honor my worthy [deceased] father, I have made this precious kuei. May sons and grandsons eternally treasure and use it.