A series of French postcards depicting one of the most gruesome punishment in China: Death by a thousands cuts (Lingchi).
Death by a thousands cuts or slow slicing was a form of torture and execution used in China from roughly AD 900 until its abolition in 1905. The condemned was killed by using a knife to methodically remove portions of the body. The process involved tying the person to be executed 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. In later times, opium was sometimes administered either as an act of mercy or as a way of preventing fainting. The punishment worked on three levels: as a form of public humiliation, as a slow and lingering death, and as a punishment after death. (Wikipedia)