From the strange reign of Empress Wu Zetian (690-705):
- “Inviting the Gentleman into the Jug” – Place the victim in a large vat, and heat it to roasting temperature with fires around its base.
- “The Phoenix Suns Her Wings” – Hang the prisoner by his arms and legs from a beam, and spin him.
- “The Fairy Maid Presents Fruits” – Make the victim kneel, with a heavy rack around his neck. Weight it down further with large tiles.
- “The Jade Maiden Mounts The Stairs” – Force the victim to stand on a high board with a rack around his neck. Pull the rack back until he keeps his balance only through great strain on his legs.
- “The Brain Hoop” – Loop a rope around his head, and tighten by placing a stick inside the loop and twisting it.
Should none of these do the trick, resort to The Five Penalties – Cut the victim’s nose off, then his or her limbs, after which beat him or her to death. Then decapitate them, chop them into mincemeat, and display the remains in the public marketplace.
As reported in Sidney Shapiro‘s “The Law and Lore of China’s Criminal Justice”