Since this is a food site, I thought it would be appropriate to write on cutlery or table utensils. As the country of origin of chopsticks, China was the first country in the world to use chopsticks (and forks) and has a history of at least 5,000 years of using eating utensils. Chopsticks play an important role in Chinese food culture. Chopsticks are called “Kuai zi” in Chinese and were called “Zhu” in ancient times. Chopsticks seem quite simple with only two small and thin sticks, but they are in possession of many functions, such as picking, moving, nipping, mixing and digging. Anyone using chopsticks would without exception admire the inventor of chopsticks although westerners might wonder if he was only trying to torment them. No one knows how they originated, but there is a myth that about 3000 BC two poor Chinese farmers stole a chicken from a storehouse. They hid out in a forest and cooked it over an open fire. They were so hungry that they could not wait for the meat to cool and pulled off the done portions with a pair of sticks so that they would not be burned. From their humble beginning as twigs or small branches, Chinese chopsticks (kuai zi) evolved into the modern square cross section with blunt ends and tapered length.
I have previously written on Roman perfume bottles and the importance of glass in the Roman Empire. Perfume was also central to ancient Greek life. It was so popular that the politician Solon temporarily banned the use of it to prevent an economic crisis. It was at the center of hospitality, wealth, status, daily life and even philosophy. It was seen as erotic, mystical and spiritual. It was linked to beauty which was inextricably linked with divinity. The origins of perfume and perfumery are interwoven with Greek mythology. In Homeric tradition, the Olympian gods taught perfumery to people. The color and scent of the rose is attributed to events surrounding Venus and Cupid. Lekuthos were used for liquid perfume and were slim elegant glass bottles. Aryballes were used for oils and unguents. Alabastron perfume bottles were highly prized, mainly among women and it was common for the craftsmen to brand the bottles to mark their craftsmanship, making them even more collectable. Even so, terracotta vessels, metal or alabaster were the most common materials for scented oil. The exquisite perfume vessel shown above is a exaleiptron (an older name was plemochoa) used for storing large amounts of perfume, possibly for washing and anointing the feet of visitors. The exaleiptron has religious significance in that it was used during the Eleusinian Mysteries when, on the last day they filled two plemochoai and set them up one to the east, one to the west, and then overturned them, saying mystic words as they did so. They were also used as grave goods.