The rather uncomfortable-looking set-up is an engraving from an article entitled An Account of Two Fakeers with their Portraits, by Jonathan Duncan, published in book of Asiatic Researches in 1799. The author apparently drew the picture of this Hindu fakir named Perkasanund from real life. Duncan comments in the article on “the strange penance he has thought fit to devote himself to, in fixing himself on his sar-seja, or bed of spikes, where he constantly day and night remains.” According to the narrative he also surrounded himself with fires during the hottest Indian weather – and in the cold arranged to have water falling on him from a perforated pot. Yet he “enjoyed good health and spirits.”