Torture has been practiced by nearly every civilization at some point. It is mostly used as a punishment for a crime or to extract information or a confession. In Ancient China (2100 BCE - 200 BCE) torture was frequently practiced.
Some of the best recored torture practices were known as the Five Punishments, used in ancient China up until the Han Dynasty. They are divided into 3 categories; Five Punishments for Slaves, Five Punishments for Serfs, and Five Punishments for women. Most of these punishments could be remitted by paying a fine.
Five Punishments for Slaves
Qíng (黥) meaning tattooing or branding. The offender would be tattooed on the face as a mark for their crimes.
Yì (劓) meaning to cut off the nose. Obviously this would cause you horrible disfigurement.
Yuè (刖) meaning to cut off one or both of the feet. This would greatly hinder your ability to work and provide for your family.
Gōng (宫) today known as Yāngē (阉割) or castration. I have a whole post dedicated to this here.
*Dà Pì (大辟) lit. "Great Provision", the death penalty.
Five Punishments for Serfs
Chī (笞) Caning. The more severe the crime, the more lashes.
Zhang (杖) The same as Chī, but with a larger stick.
Tú (徒) Slavery or Penal servitude for a given period. I guess the equivalent would be "community service"
Liú (流) Exile. The more severe the crime, the more remote and farther away the exile location.
*Sĭ (死) Death
Five Punishments for Women
Xíngchōng (刑舂) The offender was forced to grind grain. So in other words, a typical day for a women in ancient China.
Zǎnxǐng (拶刑) To crush the fingers slowly.
Zhàngxing (杖刑) To beat with a wooden plank.
Cìsǐ (赐死) The gift of death, permission to commit suicide. (I don't get it either)
Gongxing (宫刑) Although it had the same name, Gong for women was solitary confinement rather than castration.
*Execution was carried out in various ways depending on the time period, including boiling, quartering, decapitation, strangulation and two very unique methods described below.