The roasting beam (paoge 炮格, often rendered as paoluo 炮烙), was a singular historic event in which the despotic King Zhou 紂 of the Shang dynasty 商 (17th-11th cent. BCE) tortured one of his ministers to death. The story is reported in the universal history Shiji 史記 (3 Yin benji 殷本紀). It is one of many different cruel punishments that King Zhou invented to punish disobedient and critical subjects. The story is also narrated in the biographical collection Lienüzhuan 列女傳, where the tool is described as a bronze beam laid over a beacon filled with burning coal. The beam was made slippery by oiling it (gao tong zhu 膏銅柱 "greasing a bronze pillar"). Delinquents had to walk over it, and when slipping off and falling into the fire, King Zhou's consort Da Ji 妲己 burst out laughing.
The philosophical book Zhuangzi 荀子 (ch. Yibing 議兵) is one of the first which enumerates this event as one of many tortures invented by King Zhou, namely cutting out Bi Gan's 比干 heart, incarcerating Prince Jizi 箕子, and creating the roasting beam.