A color as elegant as jade
This spoon is covered with a green glaze called celadon. For over 1,000 years, Chinese potters have been using this glaze. They create the glaze from iron and titanium oxides, place it on the ceramics, and then heat the ceramics in ovens up to 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit. Many people love this color because it reminds them of jade.
Pretty, but not the highest quality
Archaeologists have found 455 celadon artifacts in the Market Street Chinatown. These celadon dishes are not of the highest quality. It seems that Chinatown residents were using affordable everyday versions of an expensive refined product.
Different from European spoons
People who eat with these spoons notice that they can pick up more of their steaming hot soup. They are also less likely to spill since the spoon has a flat bottom (pictured below), which also cools the soup faster.
These spoons can make the perfect gift
Chinese Americans today give these spoons as gifts. At “big” birthday celebrations, starting at age 60, some Chinese Americans give party guests a spoon with a rice bowl and a pair of chopsticks. These gifts carry wishes of good luck and long life.
Anita Wong Kwock: A comforting spoon for laborers (video)
Anita Wong Kwock imagines how Market Street Chinatown residents saw this spoon (1 min, 19 sec).
Anita Wong Kwock: Hold that spoon right, or else! (video)
Anita Wong Kwock remembers learning to use a Chinese spoon (1 min, 42 sec).
Anita Wong Kwock: Tasty and healing soups from a Chinese spoon (video)
Anita Wong Kwock describes delicious and medicinal Chinese soups (1 min, 6 sec).
“There Was a Chinatown Here” by Market Street Chinatown Archaeology Project (Chinese Historical and Cultural Project, Stanford University, and History San Jose) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.