Some Chopstick History
Chopsticks play an important role in Chinese food culture. Chopsticks
are called "Kuaizi" in Chinese and were called "Zhu" in ancient times
(see the characters above). Chinese people have been using kuaizi as
one of the main tableware for more than 3,000 years.
recorded in Liji (The Book of Rites) that chopsticks were used in the
Shang Dynasty (1600 BC - 1100 BC). It was mentioned in Shiji (the
Chinese history book) by Sima Qian (about 145 BC) that Zhou, the last
king of the Shang Dynasty (around 1100 BC), used ivory chopsticks.
Experts believe the history of wood or bamboo chopsticks can be dated
to about 1,000 years earlier than ivory chopsticks.
Bronze chopsticks were invented in the Western Zhou Dynasty (1100 BC -
771 BC). Lacquer chopsticks from the Western Han (206 BC - 24 AD) were
discovered in Mawangdui, China. Gold and silver chopsticks became
popular in the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907). It was believed that silver
chopsticks could detect poisons in food.
classified into five groups based on the materials used to make them,
i.e., wood, metal, bone, stone and compound chopsticks. Bamboo and wood
chopsticks are the most popular ones used in Chinese homes.
There are a
few things to avoid when using chopsticks. Chinese people usually don't
beat their bowls while eating, since the behavior used to be practiced
by beggars. Also don't insert chopsticks in a bowl upright because it
is a custom exclusively used in sacrifice.
If you are
interested in chopsticks, you may want to visit the Kuaizi Museum in
Shanghai. The museum collected over 1,000 pairs of chopsticks. The
oldest one was from the Tang Dynasty.