Just over 2 centuries ago, it was common to see public executions where the goal was usually to kill the condemned as quickly as possible, in stark contrast to execution by lingchi. Lingchi was the most excruciating way for a person to meet their end.
According to historical records, this form of execution began to be used in China during the 8th century AD until its official ban in 1905, after the French newspaper Le Monde described in detail the barbaric way in which the convicted were punished by death in China.
Lingchi, translated as "death by a thousand cuts" or "slow cutting", was the most brutal and agonizing way that prisoners were killed.
The executioner would met out justice by cutting the condemned into pieces. The offender was tied to a thick pole, at which point the executioner proceeded to cut pieces from his flesh, starting from the breast.
After the breast, the executioner began cutting off the hands and finally - the feet. Few actually lived to the point when the executioner got to the feet. But they would always record when the outlaw lost consciousness and when they died, as this was used to determine how unruly they were.
However, even when the convicted individual died, the executioners continued to cut them until they could fit all of their remains in a single basket, as lingchi custom dictated.
Considering the cruelty of this death penalty, it was only used to punish the most heinous of crimes at that time in China - treason, matricide, patricide and the murdering of one's master.
At times, the executioners would feel pity toward the condemned and do what they could to kill them faster. Wealthier families would bribe the executioner ahead of time not to torture their loved one before his death.
Once it became known worldwide, the practice was outlawed. Lingchi was last used to execute Fou Tchou-Li, who was sentenced to death for the murder of his master.