Here I am going to publish a series posts about traditional public punishment or execution in ancient China. Firstly we are going to view the most cruel and bloody way of execution (not one the most, exactly the most!): "Lingchi", which is also known as "death by a thousand cuts".
In ancient Chinese, the original meaning of "Lingchi" means "a gentle slope" or "the extension of time". Then it was used to name a kind of execution way firstly emerged in 900 CE in Five Dynasties period (907–960 CE, a period in Chinese history). At first, "Lingchi" just aims for killing the prisoner slowly with no specific regulations of the number of cuts. However, during the following 1000 years in Chinese history, the number of cuts in "Lingchi" had been gradually clarified. The least number is 8 while the most may reach 3600. If the executioner killed the prisoner before reaching the sentenced number of cuts, the executioner would also receive very severe punishment. More basic information about "Lingchi" can be found at:
The aim or creation of "Lingchi" is to punish those most "evil" crimes. Generally, there ten kinds of crimes can be viewed as "evil". Although most prisoners died in "Lingchi" are male, in this thread, we mainly focused on those female prisoners died in "Lingchi" in real Chinese history.
Actually, there are only three main reasons for a woman to be sentenced to "Lingchi": treason, cruel robbery such as killing more than ten people, killing direct male relatives(son, husband, father or father in law). We will talk about treason first.
As we have talked above, the number of cuts in "Lingchi" differs from the crime while treason may lead to most numbers, sometimes more 3000 cuts. According to history, more than 20 very famous female generals died by "Lingchi". Most of them died under the rule of Qing Dynasty(1644-1912 CE). Among them, two girls are most famous. One is Wang Nangxian who has already been detailedly discussed in While another's name is Zhou Xiuying who died in Shanghai in 1855 at the age of 19. Now we will talk the exact story about her.
Zhou Xiuying's father was the leader of a rebellion group called "Little Knife Society" which fought against Qing Dynasty's government and she received advanced education in both literature and Kung-Fu since she was still a little girl.
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From the age of 16, Zhou Xiuying began to join the society and led several rebellion battles. She was very fit and brave. It was rumored that she could use a chopper weighed more than 40 kilograms. Soon after she became known by her people, she was chosen to be their minor leader for her bravery and wisdom.
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In 1853, her father Zhou Lichun was captured in a battle and then was executed by "Lingchi" in the center of Shanghai. After her father's death, Zhou Xiuying was not knocked down by sorrow. Instead, she became one of the main leaders of "Little Knife Society" and led her people to conquer Shanghai. However, this was the last successful battle in her life.
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In 1855, after several battles, the strength of "Little Knife Society" became weaker and weaker. One day, Zhou Xiuying and her army was trapped and surrounded in Qingpu (a remote district on the edge of Shanghai). Although she still killed tens of enemies, she was finally captured after her horse was stumbled over by Qing soldiers' ropes.
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As one of the head of the rebellion army, the only execution way awaited Zhou Xiuying is "Lingchi". However, Qing Dynasty wouldn't let her die easily. Before the final execution, they added several torment to humiliate her in public such as letting her stand under chains in the square of the city. They did this to her because Qing Dynasty hated her very much for the reason that she had killed hundreds of their soldiers and generals.
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After days and days of torment, she finally welcomed her death. In ancient China, each condemned prisoner would endure a parade before being sent to death. Thus, on her execution day, early in the morning, Zhou Xiuying was taken out of her cell and put on a wooden donkey(we will discuss about it in the following parts of this post) with all clothes off. Then she was paraded in every streets and corners in Shanghai before she was finally sent to the execution ground.
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Her hands and legs were tied onto a wooden frame designed for "Lingchi" to fix her and two sticks were inserted into her pussy and ass. Their function is to prevent her from incontinence during the process of being sliced into pieces.
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The executioner came near to her and began his work. No records showed the exact number of cuts she suffered. It ranged from 36 to 360. In this artwork, the artist obviously took 36 as the exact number. The day she died, she still didn't reach 20 and this finished our story.
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I also posted a vote to find out your interest in the identities of the prisoner and the way to treat her on her parade. These choices may help me understand your taste and talk about something more related to your interest in future.
I wrote a story about a crucifixion that took place just outside Boston http://www.cruxforums.com/xf/threads/the-real-historical-female-jesus.5775/One of my ancestors, a woman, was tarred and feathered and run out of town (Boston) on a rail by the Puritans.
She kept returning, so this happened to her several times before they finally hanged her. I’d say she just liked Boston, but actually she was preaching, which the Puritans didn’t allow women to do. Gutsy!
No wonder I enjoy being crucified! It’s in my genes.
so exciting! I am a Chinese.I have seen many pictures of lingchi.But shaojun is new!If you're interested, take a look at this post:
I'm drawing a story about ancient Chinese torture "Ling Chi". ヾ(*´▽‘*)ﾉ