Kerr, Rose (ed.). Chinese Art and Design. The T.T.Tsui Gallery of Chinese Art. London: Victoria and Albert Museum. 1991, p. 224, fig. 105
Wilson, Ming. Archaic Chinese bronzes, manuscript. London. 1992, p. 60-61
[Food vessel (gui)] Bronze ritual vessel gui, decorated with a taotie mask on the front and back of the body and stylised confronting leiwen dragons on the foot; the two handles terminate with an animal head
This type of bronze vessel, called gui in Chinese, was originally used in the 11th-10th century as a food container during the ritual ceremonies for the ancestors. Vessels of this type were also buried in high-ranking tombs as part of a complete ritual set; the number and type of bronze objects would vary according to the status of the deceased.
By the late 16th century, archaic bronze vessels had become prestigious items to be collected and displayed in exclusive circles of literati and members of the upper classes, who were keen to show their wealth and refined taste. From Ming paintings we know that gui vessels could be used as incense burners.