By Swami Harshananda
Out of the several units of length used in the ancient scriptures, aṅgula is probably the smallest. It is variously defined as the total length of eight barley grains kept lengthwise side by side; the width of a finger; one-twelfth part of a ‘vitasti’ or span.
In iconography, images are recommended to be prepared according to the ‘tālamāna’ system. A ‘tāla’ is the measurement of the palm of hand (from the tip of the middle finger to the wrist) and is equal to the length of the face. Each tāla is divided into twelve ‘aṅgulas.’
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore