05 August 2006

Deaths of a thousand cuts- China

Ressource_Provider: Jérôme Bourgon
Title: Execution of Fu-zhu-li
Date of event: 10 April 1905
Place Continent: Asia
Place Country: China
Place Region: Hebei (Zhili)Place
City: BeijingPlace_Street: Caishikou菜市口

Summary: Fu-zhu-li was a guard at the service of the *Mongol prince head of the Aohan (Jehol) banner. On New Years eve (*February 1905), he murdered the prince (essay: The Fu-zhu-li case). He was sentenced to quartering, the penalty prescribed for slaves who had murdered their master. As the photographs show, this was witnessed at close range by a number of witnesses. The photographs are now found, either printed on glass (for the stereos only) or on paper prints (essay: Photographic Processes). In addition, a set of 12 postcards (essay: Postcards), published in Tianjin, was available by 1912. The appalling images were accepted by the postal service, and some cards were actually mailed.The photographs of Fu-zhu-li's execution added to the sulfurous interest already surrounding the lingchi penalty in the West. A few details on the criminal and the reasons for his sentencing were published by Carpeaux in 1913, together with two photographs. Some details are accurate (the names of the criminal and his victim, the executions date), others are more dubious (essay: The Fu-zhu-li affair) (critical review of Carpeaux). For example, and contrary to what he stated, Carpeaux cannot have been a witness to the execution (essay: Phony eyewitnesses). His story was nevertheless used by Georges Bataille in 1961 as a source on another lingchi execution (* to fiches "pseudo" Fu-zhu-li) (essay: Executions by Lingchi).

Bibliography 1:Authors: BOURGON, Jérôme Chinese Executions: Visualizing their Differences with European Supplices
The vast crowd watched with indifference this beautiful ivory body whose harmony of sculptural forms was promised to infamous butchery… There again, many old Celestials had invited to the gruesome ceremony their favorite bird, which they soothed while staring quietly at the condemned, evoking to my eyes the image of the Divined Crucified surrounded with hostile executioners and the Jewish crowd, stunned by slavery… But a teeny-mandarin, peacock feathered, rushes up bringing the order to begin… Monsieur de Pékin, impassive, comes a knife in his hand. The tormented man’s eyes follow the steel blade that that cut into his right breast… He gets tense under pain, opens his mouth, but has no time to shut, as with a brusque stroke, the executioner has just cut his windpipe. Fu-zhu-li is a poor devil, if he could pay the executioner, the blade would have come right through his heart. The thing has been done with such dexterity that nobody has noticed the sudden plunging of the knife and at the place of the cut breast now appears a large wound, from which leaks the blood at each arterial throb. The tormented man clenches on his pole, with more and more striking resemblances with a crucified Christ, without he can shout, as required by the respected rites. Then the right breast is taken off in the twinkling of an eye. The aids present a new knife to the executioner, who, with a steady hand, cuts the two biceps successively. While horribly tenses up the unfortunate Fu-zhu-li, in a large and swift move, Monsieur de Pékin untie all the muscular mass of the thighs, that goes in a prepared basket with bloody fleshes already cast therein. The heads tilts over at this moment; the coma invades the convulsive face… The left elbow is assailed straight away: two aids break the forearm by revolving it, and the immense suffering awakes the dying man for one minute. The right arm has the same fate… The tormented man is not dead; weakly he is still wincing! The left leg is cut off, cast into the basket, after the knee has been dislocated, broken…Fu-zhu-li seems to be dead, finally! No muscle in his tipped down head is still moving. (…)The right leg, the head, and finally the sex go to the basket with the monstrous bits, unexpected banquet for the numerous dogs around. The torment was over; it at lasted exactly twenty minutes. The awful trunk, all what remained from the handsome Fu-zhu-li with so perfect ivory forms, was still tied to the pole in front of a silent and indifferent crowd will pass along

I got more photos of this set

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