There is an interesting description about chopsticks in the book “Empire of Signs (L’Empire des signes)” by Roland Barthes.

I excerpt a passage below.

In all these functions, in all the gestures they imply, chopsticks are the converse of our knife (and of its predatory substitute, the fork): they are the alimentary instrument which refuses to cut, to pierce, to mutilate, to trip (very limited gestures, relegated to the preparation of the food for cooking: the fish seller who skins the still-living eel for us exorcises once and for all, in a preliminary sacrifice, the murder of food); by chopsticks, food becomes no longer a prey to which one does violence (meat, flesh over which one does battle), but a substance harmoniously transferred; they transform the previously divided substance into bird food and rice into a flow of milk; maternal, they tirelessly perform the gesture which creates the mouthful, leaving to our alimentary manners, armed with pikes and knives, that of predation.

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 It is a very delicate instrument such as extension of the finger,  Roland Barthes said.

” food becomes no longer a prey to which one does violence.”

The culture of knife and fork, it distinguishes itself as a tool of the same food.

When I read the first time, it was a sentence that was made to re-recognize the culture.

I feel to be opened a sense of door or fresh sensibility each time when I encounter things like this.


chopsticks Alatus Designed by Hiromi Kim

Empire of Signs, Roland Barthes (english version)

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