A prisoner subjected to the punishment of the cangue is kneeling in the street to let himself be fed with a spoon by a local woman while being watched by a guard armed with a whip. The author further informs us with the following account:
The instrument itself is a heavy wooden frame-work, formed of two sections fastened at one end by a hinge, and at the other by a lock or screw. The neck of the culprit passes through a hole in the centre, and his hands through smaller apertures on each side. Sometimes he is indulged with the freedom of one hand, which he employs in relieving the weight of the cangue from his galled shoulders.
Over the screw which secures the sections enclosing the offender’s neck, a paper is generally pasted, to which is affixed the seal or chop of the committing mandarin; and over another part of the log, a placard setting forth the crime which is visited by this degradation.
The weight of these moveable pillories is from sixty to two hundred pounds avoirdupois(1), and the time of endurance is proportioned, according to the judgment of the magistrate, to the magnitude of the offence. A criminal has been known to endure a heavy cangue for half a year, passing his nights in the dungeons of Ting-hai(2), and, when day appeared, led by a chain to the most frequented of the city-gates. The keeper, armed with a thick bamboo, or large thong-whip, conducts him to some position where he may recline against a wall, and ease his shoulders of their ponderous load. If both the culprit’s hands be confined, he cannot raise food or drink to his mouth, in which case the attendant feeds him with the wretched jail-allowance; or some compassionate occupants of the adjoining houses, near to which he happens to be placed for the day, supply him with refreshments.