A punishment used in China
, under the Ch'ing Code
, it may roughly be described as a portable stocks
for the head
It consisted of a heavy (up to 200 pounds, depending on the crime) wooden square, up to three feet on a side, in two pieces, which was fitted to the neck of the person being punished.
After fitting, the wearers were free to go about their business, but unable to bring their hands up to scratch, wash or feed their face
The wearers would often seek the aid of friends to support their burden, feed them, and help them to avoid stumbling (as they could not see their feet.)
After sentencing, the procedure was for the mandarin to attach the cangue, and then affix two paper strips along the edges and across the join between the two pieces, with a wax seal, so that cheating was ruled out. Written
on the paper were the details of the crime and the period of the sentence. The punishee was then turned loose, often at a busy crossroads or city gate.
Both before donning and after removing the cangue, it was considered right and proper to indulge the criminal in twenty or so strokes of the bastinado.
The term is Portugese in origin.
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