Pansanggi

The Korean people created a peculiar custom of preparing a table through the protracted course of history and have carried it forward.

Pansanggi is a set of tableware which are formally used in preparing a dinner table. It was also called Pansang.

The vessels were normally made of brass, porcelain or wood according to the living standard of a family, but the ruling class made them with silver.

It features that all the vessels, except a large bowl, have their own lids.

In preparing pansanggi there are 3 chop, 5 chop, 7 chop, 9 chop, etc., and chop means a vessel. Three kinds of foods on a table are called 3-chop pansang, five kinds of foods, 5-chop pansang, seven kinds of foods, 7-chop pansang, and nine kinds of foods, 9-chop pansang.

The Korean ancestors chose the number of chop mainly with odd numbers such as 3, 5, 7, 9, because they regarded the numbers as “good and fortunate” ones.

Soup, kimchi and spiced soy sauce were not included in the number of side dishes as they belonged to the number of non-staple foods. A dry side dish and pickled vegetable and fish dishes were regarded as 1 chop though they are put on a table, and a stew and a steamed dish were not included in the number of chop.

More small vessels of spiced soy sauce were put on a table when side dishes were added.

Preparation of pansang had already been spread in the period of Koryo (918-1392).

The custom, in which the foods are arranged with a certain formality so as to whet appetite and take meals comfortably, shows the developed cultural level of the Korean people and their peculiar dinner service practices.

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