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Salle des Martyrs at the Paris Foreign Missions Society. The ladder-like apparatus in the middle is the cangue that was worn by Pierre Borie in captivity.

A cangue is a small device that was used for public humiliation and corporal punishment in China and some other parts of East Asia and Southeast Asia, until the early years of the twentieth century.

It was somewhat similar to the pillory used for punishment in the West, except that the board of the cangue was not fixed to a base, and had to be carried around by the prisoner.


Although there are many different forms, a typical cangue would consist of a large, heavy flat board with a hole in the center large enough for a person's neck. The board consisted of two pieces. These pieces were closed around a prisoner's neck, and then fastened shut along the edges by locks or hinges. The opening in the center was large enough for the prisoner to breathe and eat, but not large enough for a head to slip through. The prisoner was confined in the cangue for a period of time as a punishment. The size and especially weight were varied as a measure of severity of the punishment. Often the cangue was large enough that the prisoner required assistance to eat or drink, as his hands could not reach his own mouth.

The word "cangue" is French, from the Portuguese "canga," which means yoke - that carrying tool has also been used to the same effect, with the hands tied to each arm of the yoke. In contemporary Standard Mandarin Chinese it is called a 木枷 "mù jīa", or a 枷鎖 "jiā suǒ".

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CANGUE, or Cang, the European name for the Chinese Kia or Kea, a portable pillory, carried by offenders convicted of petty offences. It consists of a square wooden collar weighing from 20 to 60 lb, through a hole in which the victim's head is thrust. It fits tight to the neck and must be worn day and night for the period ordered. The offender is left exposed in the street. Over the parts by which it fastens slips of paper bearing the mandarin's seal are pasted so that no one can liberate the condemned. The length of the punishment is usually from a fortnight to a month. As the cangue is 3 to 4 ft. across the convict is unable to feed himself or to lie down, and thus, unless fed by friends or passers-by, often starves to death. As in the English pillory, the name of the man and the nature of his offence are inscribed on the cangue.

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