Monday, April 24, 2006
I was searching for on-line images of the xiezhi (獬豸), the mythical Chinese beast that identified the guilty in criminal proceedings by butting them, when I ran across this interesting web site maintained by Terada Hiroaki (寺田浩明) of Kyoto University Law School for the dissemination of information relating to Chinese legal history studies in Japan. Among other things, it includes a link to an electronic on-line edition of the Du Li Cun Yi (读例存疑), Xue Yunsheng's famous annotation of the Qing Code and substatutes.
Speaking of the xiezhi, it's interesting to note that this is pretty much the extent of the use of magic in the history of Chinese criminal procedure - and it's solely mythical. So far as is known, Chinese criminal procedure has never had any use for magical procedures such as the dunking of witches or other forms of trial by ordeal.