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Chopsticks & Knife Traveling Set, circa 1860

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Directory: Antiques: Instruments and Implements: Culinary: Pre 1900: Item # 829500

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Chopsticks & Knife Traveling Set, circa 1860
A CHINESE “EATING KIT”. This example consists of a dark brown hardwood case containing a steel knife and a pair of chopsticks, the case capped at the end in brass and bound together with three sets of triple brass bands and a brass lip and inlaid with a pair of narrow rectangular bands, the wooden knife handle embellished with two reticulated, inlaid brass circular decorations. The double-loop rings were attached to a cord and toggle counterweight, much like a netsuke, and the knife case was suspended over a gentleman’s sash. As noted by Margaret Duda in the article “Chinese Toggles as Counterweights and Charms,” (Arts of Asia, Volume 34, Number 5), such toggles or “guajian” were not used by Han Chinese women, and the decoration and appearance of these portable chopstick sets is decidedly masculine. They were carried while traveling and to social functions, and together with the associated toggle, which might be fashioned from jade or wood, were worn as status symbols. Excellent patina and very good condition with expected wear. Length: approx. 33 cm (13-1/4”) and weighing 225 grams (8 ounces).


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