The Operation of Chinese Eunuch’s Castration- “The Pathetic Journey”

What is Eunuch and the operation of castration

What’s Eunuch and Castration? Castration is an operation to transform a man into a eunuch by removing his genitalia (penis and testicles). The main purpose of castration is to protect the blood purity of the royal families and served as a punishment for those foreign enemies or criminal.

Eunuchs sacrificed theirs reproduction organs just to get a ticket into the palace and hope to acquire great power and wealth from the emperor. Needless to say, this is a pathetic journey accompanied with uncertainties and melancholy.

*This post might contain inappropriate and violent images for some readers, so you should read it at your own discretion.

Types of Castration Method


1.Castrati-Clean cut, both penis and testicles were amputated.

2.Spadones- Testicles only were amputated.

3.Thlibiae- Testicles were bruised or crushed.

Chinese’s eunuch exists since 1600B.C, during the Shang Dynasty. Various castration methods had been used. The castration technique widely used by Chinese was Castrati, in which both penis and testicles were removed by a knifer. Due to the high rate of mortality associated with this radical form of the operation, the castration’s trend had been reduced in severity. So in later centuries, only the testicles were sometimes removed. However, in majority cases, both the external genitalia were amputated.

The Process of Castration

the tomb of chinese eunuch

Eunuch's Tomb

the tomb of chinese eunuch

Eunuch's Tomb

The whole operation of Castration would be performed in an establishment maintained outside one of the palace gates in the imperial city. The fee for these in the Qing dynasty was 6 silver pieces, which most of them not afford to pay and had to be deducted from their salary in future.

The patient would first recline on a broad bench, and the genitalia was washed with warm water and later anaesthetized with hot chili sauce or pepper. Meantime, the abdomen and upper thighs were tightly bound with bandages, two assistants would hold the spread legs and a third assistant would secure the arms. The specialist or sometimes called knifer stood between the legs, armed with a curved knife and grasped the testicles and penis with his left hand. Once the absolute consent was given, the genitalia (Penis, Testicles) was amputated with a fast single slice.

A chinese eunuch

After that, a plug was quickly inserted into the urethra and left there for three days to prevent the blockage of urine( Stricture formation). During the 3 days, the patient was not allowed to drink liquids or urinate. On the fourth day, if the patient could urinate after the plug was removed, then the operation was considered a success. If the patient had difficulty urinating, then he usually would die in a painful way.

Most of the time, these operations however, were successful.  The fatalities’ range was among 1 in 1000 to 1 in 10000, primarily due to infection and urine blockage.

Consequences of Castration

effects of being castrated

Physical Appearance Changes after Castration

Animals change their form and character, not only at certain ages, but in consequence of being castrated and this applies to human being either. The castration operation inhibits the production of Testosterone hormone in the body. This caused the eunuch high pitch voice and too weak to perform hard physical work.

In addition to a lifetime impotence, they often suffered incontinence in exchange for power and wealth. Eunuch not able to control theirs bladder very well and often wet their bed and clothes and this leads to an old Chinese expression “ as smelly as an eunuch “

Not only that, they lose their beard and loss of strength and weight in most. Psychologically, the loss of their sexual organs leads to the perception that they are incomplete, and they are really sensitive to any criticism of their appearance or defects, and tend to be rather petty and argumentative.

Castrated penis and testicles

In fact, not all the eunuch would have same physical appearance change after castration. It depends at what age the man is being castrated. If the man was castrated in boyhood, the later-growing hair would never come, and the voice would still remain high-pitched; If the man was castrated in early manhood, the later growth of hair would cease, except the growth of hair at the groin. The hairs at the groin area wouldn’t entirely depart, but it would diminish.

The congenital growth of hair would never fall out and that is why a eunuch would never go bald. However, in all cases of castration, the man’s voice would finally change to the feminine voice.

 

Stenosed Urethra after amputation of genitalia

Stenosed Urethra after amputation of genitalia

According to legend, castration has often used to improve the effectiveness of soldiers. Apparently, rulers would sometimes remove the testicles of young men in order to promote growth and build himself an army of giants. Alternatively, the king would remove the men’s penis but leave their testicles intact. This would cause them such enormous sexual frustration and they would become exceedingly violent and aggressive.

Castration’s tools

Tools used for castration operation

  • A. Scalpel used by knifers for the removal of the external genitalia of the Chinese eunuchs. The blade is described as 3.7 in. in length, and the handle as 2 in. in length.
  • B. A urethral dilator for insertion into the urethra of the Chinese eunuchs. The dilator is 3 cm long and 0.9 cm in the widest portion of the plug.
  • C. A urethral plug used to prevent incontinence (5 cm long). A string was placed in the eye to prevent it from slipping into the bladder.


Another Story of Castration of China’s Last Eunuch.

the last eunuch of china Sun YaoTing

Sun Yaoting is the last China’s imperial eunuch who died on December 17 , 1996 at the age of 93 in a Beijing Temple. Sun chose to become a eunuch himself after being inspired by the eunuch in his village that became rich, and he was castrated at the age of eight.

The castration operation was carried out on the bed of their mud-walled home by his desperate father. His father used only oil-soaked paper as a bandage and without any anaesthetic. After removed the genital, his father inserted a goose quill into Sun’s urethra to prevent it getting blocked as the wound healed.

Goose Quill used for castration

Goose Quill

 

He was unconscious for three days and could barely move for two months. When he finally rose from his bed, history played the a series of cruel tricks on him — he discovered the emperor he hoped to serve had abdicated several weeks earlier. He had a very pathetic life…

“Our boy has suffered for nothing, they don’t  need eunuch anymore!” –Sun’s father.

Further Reading:

Eunuch’s Museum

The Chinese eunuch admiral Zheng

Wikipedia

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