An Enigmatic Figure from Kālañjara
The carrier of the vihāngika or ‘bangy’
Hans T. Bakker
University of Groningen
The sixth-century (?) Sanskrit dictionary Amarakosa (2.10.29f.) describes in its chapter dealing with terms pertinent to the class of the sudras various words for basket (pitaka), among which the vihangika, said to be a basket hanging from a yoke (bharayasti) by a swing (sikya). Lingayasurin’s commentary explains the name: `Because it resembles a bird (vihanga), it is called a vihangika – a yoke that serves to carry goods.’ In modern Anglo-Indian it is known as `bangy.’ This appliance is associated with brahminical activity since its earliest representations.
About Hans T. Bakker:
Hans T. Bakker is a cultural historian and Indologist. He is currently working as researcher in British Museum. Before joining the British Museum in 2014, Bakker was at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands where he was director of the Institute of Indian Studies at Groningen and, from 1996, Professor of the History of Hinduism in the Sanskrit Tradition and Indian Philosophy. He has been a visiting fellow of All Souls College at the University of Oxford and a visiting professor at the University of Vienna and the University of Kyoto.