Illustrated manuscript of hindu tantrism ( Recreated)
Acrylic on cotton canvas

Courtesy of the artist and Singh family

SINGH Born in 1965 in Kathmandu, died in 2021 in Kathmandu. This contemporary reproduction of a stolen manuscript provides an annotated diagram of the esoteric ‘subtle body,’ which Hindu tantrism conceives to lie within the ‘real’ human body. This body contains speci fc energy centres, or lotuses of chakras (wheels and circles), usually seven in number and arranged vertically as illustrated here. The chakras are connected by energy transmitting channels (nadis), a primary, central one (sushumna) and several subsidiary ones. Two critical nadis traverse the subtle body from the big toes to the nostrils, depicted here as a red (solar) line on the right and a blue (lunar) line on the left, both entwining the chakras in their passage.

Each chakra represents an ascending level of consciousness, beginning with the muladhara chakra at the base of the spine and ending above the head in an inverted, thousand-petalled lotus, known as the sahasrara chakra. The subtle body pictured in this manuscript stands on (or emerges from) a primaeval ocean, symbolising the depths of the unconscious, which is de fned in the commentary as billions of underworlds. The representation re fects an artistic style and visual understanding of the position of the chakras above the human body that is speci fc to the Nepali context.

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