On the run-up to Halloween, Anatomy Lab Live will be exploring some of the most horrific historical tortures. Delving into how these blooding curdling techniques inflicted pain onto its unwilling subjects leading to a slow and painful death.
Lingchi, translated variously as the slow process, the lingering death, or slow slicing, and also known as death by a thousand cuts, was a form of torture and execution used in China from roughly 900 CE until it was banned in 1905.
As the name implies, lingchi was a drawn-out and brutal process, wherein an executioner would deliver justice to various lawbreakers by administering a series of cuts to the skin. Unlike most execution styles, which aim to kill sooner rather than later, the aim of lingchi was a long, slow punishment, intended to see how many cuts a person could withstand before dying, or simply losing consciousness.
The process involved tying the condemned prisoner to a wooden frame, usually in a public place. The flesh was then cut from the body in multiple slices in a process that was not specified in detail in Chinese law, and therefore most likely varied. The punishment worked on three levels: as a form of public humiliation, as a slow and lingering death, and as a punishment after death.