Whipping post

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Public whipping of prostitutes and unwed mothers. Etching by Daniel Chodowiecki (1782).
Caricature on english 'flagellation mania' (c. 1750).

A whipping post is a wooden post erected indoors (e.g. in prisons) or outdoors for the whipping of criminal offenders in public as a form of judicial corporal punishment.

A whipping post is made for whippings in a standing position. The delinquent is made to face the post and his wrists are fastened to the post (usually above his head) with rope or straps to restrain him in position during the flogging. The whipping was usually given on the back, not on the buttocks. The back was often, but not always, bared and the whipping was given with a whip, birch or (seldom) cane.

Whipping posts were common in Europe from Ancient Rome or before up to the 19th century. They may well have been in use in prehistory, and the first whipping posts were probably simply trees. Also, columns and poles that were part of buildings could be used as whipping posts.

Whipping posts are different from pillories, although it is also possible to whip a person who is restrained in a pillory.

The whipping post never quite made it into the list of furniture items popular in BDSM. Instead, the X-frame is commonly used in BDSM for whipping the back and/or buttocks in a standing position.

In fine art, whipping posts are often found in paintings and sculptures depicting the flogging of Christ.

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