The kangling is a type of ritual musical instrument made from a human femur. They have been used in sacred rites in Tibet and parts of India for well over 2,000 years.

The kangling (translated as ‘leg flute’) is used in particular sacred rites to remind participants that physical existence is temporary and to eliminate attachment to the material. Believe it or not, this is just one example of the ritual use for the human femur through history. Your femur is the longest and strongest bone in your body. It runs from your thigh, hence calling it the thigh bone, to your knee. I imagine that’s why it lends itself to such abundant use in ancient cultures; archeologists have found some form of tool and/or ritual implement constructed of human femurs in a fascinatingly wide variety of ancient cultures.

femur constructionThe part of your femur closest to your torso is called the head and it is rounded so that it can nestle into a perfectly matching ‘cup’ in the pelvis, which then creates your hip joint. The rounded protrusion at the very top of the femur is called the Greater Trochanter. It serves as the attachment point for the muscles involved in movement and posture, most notably the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, gluteus maximus, and piriformis. Also, the obturator internus, superior and inferior gemellus, and obturator externus muscles, whew. Now you’re even more curious aren’t you??? Basically, those are all the muscles that comprise your hips, butt, and even influence your abdomen.

Just a few inches below the Greater Trochanter, which is a fantastic name by the way. It sounds like a star system... is the Lesser Trochanter. The Lesser Trochanter is the insertion point for the musculature of the Psoas and the Iliopsoas (iliacus). See how very complex you are??

femur pelvisThe other end of your femur does a similar thing for connection, except it nestles into bones and cartilage of the tibia and the knee. Your femur is the only bone in your thigh, making the configuration unique since most other parts of your body are formed by multiple bony structures. The femur bone is long and slender but sturdy and strong and exceptionally hard to break unless by direct force or deterioration.

The function of your femur, other than potentially becoming a musical instrument, is to provide protective strength and structure to all the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments that run between your hip and knee joint. In short, the reason you can walk, run, sit, stand, bend, dance, and even squat is because your fabulous femur can withstand the pressure and keep it all together. I’d say it’s time to offer some major thanks to your thigh bone rather than just complaining about your thighs.