The origin of chop sticks

26 Apr

Chop sticks are the most commonly used, and traditional utilities for eating food in China. They are usually made of wood, bamboo or plastic, contrasting to knives and forks which are commonly used in the West. Those using chop sticks will use their dominant hand to Image their food in the bowl or plate.

‘The honourable and upright man… allows no knives on his table’  Confucius

It is believed that this quote from Confucius has been a major driving force that has kept knives away from many Chinese dining tables. This was because Confucius associated knives and forks with tools used in battle and when fighting, because many of his teachings advocated against acts of violence and aggression. Hence food is served in bite sized pieces so there is no need for knives at the dinner table.

It is unknown the exact time when chop sticks were first used, there is evidence to confirm their use during the Shang dynasty (1766 BC- 1122 BC). Initially chop stick were twigs and were used in the preparation of food before they were used during meal time; it was not till 400 AD that this was the case.

Bibliography (2013) A Brief History of Chopsticks — Hungry History. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 26 Apr 2013].

Holm, D. and  Honey, D. and Dauncey, S. (2008) Quotations from Confucius Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press

Parkinson, R. (2013) Chopsticks. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 26 Apr 2013].



One Response to “The origin of chop sticks”

  1. zk1e11 April 28, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

    Chopsticks to some extent means Chinese culture and many foreign businessmen are to show the respect to Chinese by actively using chopsticks at table. But they do not know there are a lot rules and taboos concerning chopsticks using. If you want your respect and regards to traditional Chinese cultured well presented, im here to remind you following taboos about chopsticks that should be kept in mind not to offend when eating with your Chinese friends.
    In every Chinese family, if the children knock the bowl with their chopsticks, they will be strictly scolded because the action is actually for beggar when they are begging for food. If some one does this at table, he will be deeply despised.
    On some occasions, people would like to save trouble by inserting the chopsticks in the rice so that to pass the bowl and the chopsticks together. But in China, the behavior may be recognized as cursing the person who accepts your bowl to death because it is similar to incenses in censer when Chinese are memorizing their dead ancestors.
    Third, it is thought to be an impolite behavior when you suck the end of a chopstick. People will think you lack family education.
    Fourth, don’t use chopsticks to poke at every dish without knowing what your want.
    ANd lastly, I would say cross chopsticks at table may indicate the people eating with you that you totally disagree with them or think them are totally wrong. In China, when a teacher finds a mistake in student’s exercise, he will write a red cross on it to remind the student his mistake. So later, cross in China has been generally regarded as either disapproval or disagreement.

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