How Does Chinese Weight Themselves?

In Chinese culture, the practice of measuring one's weight is deeply rooted in both traditional beliefs and modern health-conscious habits. The Chinese people, renowned for their emphasis on holistic well-being, have a unique approach to weight assessment that goes beyond mere physical measurements. From ancient methods influenced by the principles of yin and yang to contemporary practices influenced by Western scientific approaches, the Chinese population has embraced diverse techniques to evaluate their overall health and maintain a harmonious balance between mind, body, and spirit. This article will explore the multi-faceted ways in which Chinese individuals weigh themselves, encompassing traditional cultural perspectives, medical measurements, and emerging trends in technology-driven self-evaluation.

What Is Chinese Weighing Scale?

The traditional Chinese weighing scale, known as cheng, is a simple yet effective tool used for measuring weight. It consists of three main parts: a wooden beam, a metal plate or pan, and a weight. The wooden beam acts as a lever, and is usually made from a strong and sturdy material like bamboo.

At one end of the wooden beam, there’s a metal plate or pan where the items to be weighed are placed. This plate is designed to hold the items securely and prevent them from falling off. On the other end of the beam, there’s a weight. This weight can be adjusted according to the desired unit of measurement, which varies depending on the region or individual preference.

To weigh an item using the Chinese weighing scale, the item is carefully placed on the metal plate. Once the beam is balanced, the weight on the beam indicates the weight of the item being measured.

In addition to using kilograms as their unit of weight, China also has it’s own unique way of expressing quantities. Instead of simply stating a weight in kilograms, the Chinese use a unit called “jin” (斤) which is equivalent to 500 grams. So, for instance, if someone were to mention 10 kilograms in China, it would actually be referred to as “20 jins.”

What Is the Chinese Unit of Weight?

China uses the metric measurement system, which means that the unit of weight commonly used in the country is the kilogram. Instead of simply stating the weight as 10 kilograms, for example, in China, it will be spoken as 20 jins (斤).

It was originally based on the weight of grain, as it was commonly used for trading agricultural products. Over time, the value of jin has remained constant, making it an integral part of Chinese culture and an easy way for people to understand and estimate weight.

During the reign of the first emperor of China, Shi Huang Di, a new unit of weight called the shi was established. This ancient Chinese measurement, also known as the dan, was set at approximately 60 kg or 132 pounds. The shi played a significant role in the unified regulations enacted by Qin Shi Huang, marking an important milestone in ancient Chinese weight measurement.

What Was the Ancient Chinese Measurement of Weight?

The ancient Chinese measurement of weight was known as the shi, also referred to as the dan. This unit of weight was established by the renowned historical figure Shi Huang Di, who became the first emperor of China in 221 BC. Shi Huang Di is widely celebrated for his unification of regulations, including those related to weights and measures.

Shi Huang Di fixed the shi at approximately 60 kg, which is equivalent to around 132 pounds. This standardized unit of weight played a significant role in ancient Chinese society, enabling merchants, traders, and individuals to conduct transactions and trade goods with a common understanding of weight.

The shi was a fundamental unit in commerce and trade, as it allowed for consistency and fairness when buying and selling goods. It provided a benchmark against which other weights could be measured, ensuring fairness and transparency in economic exchanges.

Moreover, the shis establishment as the basic unit of weight also symbolized Shi Huang Dis desire for central control and a unified China. By standardizing weights and measures, he sought to enhance efficiency and eliminate regional variations across the vast empire.


In conclusion, the process of how Chinese individuals weigh themselves is shaped by various factors rooted in cultural, historical, and societal contexts. Traditional methods like using scales and comparing body measurements to ancient ideals still hold significance for some individuals, while modern approaches such as body mass index calculations and sophisticated smart devices have gained popularity. By understanding these nuances, we can appreciate the intricate interplay between tradition and innovation inherent in how Chinese people determine and perceive their weight, ultimately contributing to a richer understanding of Chinese culture and it’s ongoing transformations.

Scroll to Top