Humanities › History & Culture Chinese Chopsticks Share Flipboard Email Print Renee Comet/Public Domain History & Culture Asian History East Asia Basics Figures & Events Southeast Asia South Asia Middle East Central Asia Asian Wars and Battles American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Charles Custer Journalist and Documentarian B.A., East Asian Studies, Brown University Charlie Custer is a writer, editor, and video producer focusing on China. He directed a documentary film about human trafficking in China. our editorial process Charles Custer Updated January 23, 2020 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. History of Chopsticks It was recorded in Liji (The Book of Rites) that chopsticks were used in the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC to 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 to 771 BC). Lacquer chopsticks from the Western Han (206 BC to 24 AD) were discovered in Mawangdui, China. Gold and silver chopsticks became popular in the Tang Dynasty (618 to 907). It was believed that silver chopsticks could detect poisons in food. Materials to Make Them Chopsticks can be 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. How Not to Use Your Chopsticks 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. Don't insert chopsticks in a bowl upright because it is a custom exclusively used in sacrifice. If you are really 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.