DAGON, n.p. A name often given by old European travellers to the place now called Rangoon, from the great Relic-shrine or dagoba there, called Shwé (Golden) Dagôn. Some have suggested that it is a corruption of dagoba, but this is merely guesswork. In the Talaing language ta’kkun signifies ‘athwart,’ and, after the usual fashion, a legend had grown up connecting the name with the story of a tree lying ‘athwart the hill-top,’ which supernaturally indicated where the sacred relics of one of the Buddhas had been deposited (see J.A.S.B. xxviii. 477). Prof. Forchhammer recently (see Notes on Early Hist. and Geog. of B. Burma, No. 1) explained the true origin of the name. Towns lying near the sacred site had been known by the successive names of Asitañña-nagara and Ukkalanagara. In the 12th century the last name disappears and is replaced by Trikumbha-nagara, or in Pali form Tikumbha-nagara, signifying ‘3-Hill-city.’1 The Kalyani inscription near Pegu contains both forms. Tikumbha gradually in popular utterance became Tikum, Takum, and Takun, whence Dagôn. The classical name of the great Dagoba is Tikumbha-cheti, and this is still in daily Burman use. When the original meaning of the word Takum had been effaced from the memory of the Talaings, they invented the fable alluded to above in connection with the word ta’kkn. [This view has been disputed by Col. Temple (Ind. Ant., Jan. 1893, p. 27). He gives the reading of the Kalyani inscription as Tigumpanagara and goes on to say: “There is more in favour of this derivation (from dagoba) than of any other yet produced. Thus we have dagaba, Singhalese, admittedly from dhatugabbha, and as far back as the 16th century we have a persistent word tigumpa or digumpa (dagon, digon) in Burma with the same meaning. Until a clear derivation is made out, it is, therefore, not unsafe to say that dagon represents some medieval Indian current form of dhatugabbha. This view is supported by a word gompa, used in the Himalayas about Sikkim for a Buddhist shrine, which looks primâ facie like the remains of some such word as gabbha, the latter half of the compound dhatugabbha. …Neither Trikumbha-nagara in Skt. nor Tikumbha-nagara in Pali would mean ‘Three-hill- city,’ kumbha being in no sense a ‘hill’ which is kuta, and there are not three hills on the site of the Shwe-Dagon Pagoda at Rangoon.”]

c. 1546.—“He hath very certaine intelligence, how the Zemindoo hath raised an army, with an intent to fall upon the Towns of Cosmin and Dalaa (DALA), and to gain all along the rivers of Digon and Meidoo, the whole Province of Danapluu, even to Ansedaa (hod. Donabyu and Henzada).”—F. M. Pinto, tr. by H. C. 1653, p. 288.

c. 1585.—“After landing we began to walk, on the right side, by a street some 50 paces wide, all along which we saw houses of wood, all gilt, and set off with beautiful gardens in their fashion, in which dwell all the Talapoins, which are their Friars, and the rulers of the Pagode or Varella of Dogon.”—Gasparo Balbi, f. 96.

c. 1587.—“About two dayes iourney from Pegu there is a Varelle (see VARELLA) or Pagode, which is the pilgrimage of the Pegues: it is called Dogonne, and is of a wonderfulle bignesse and all gilded from the foot to the toppe.”—R. Fitch, in Hakl. ii. 398, [393].

c. 1755.—Dagon and Dagoon occur in a paper of this period in Dalrymple’s Oriental Repertory, i. 141, 177; [Col. Temple adds: “The word is always Digon in Flouest’s account of his travels in 1786 (T’aung Pao, vol. i. Les Francais en Birmanie au xviiie Siècle. passim). It is always Digon (except once: “Digone capitale del Pegù,” p. 149) in Quirini’s Vita di Monsignor G. M. Percoto, 1781; and it is Digon in a map by Antonio Zultae e figli Venezia, 1785. Symes, Embassy to Ava, 1803 (pp. 18, 23) has Dagon. Crawfurd, 1829, Embassy to Ava (pp. 346-7), calls it Dagong. There is further a curious word, “Too Degon,” in one of Mortier’s maps, 1740.”]


DAIMIO, s. A feudal prince in Japan. The word appears to be approximately the Jap. pronunciation of Chin. taiming, ‘great name.’ [“The Daimyos were the territorial lords and barons of feudal Japan. The word means literally ‘great name.’ Accordingly, during the Middle Ages, warrior chiefs of less degree, corresponding, as one might say, to our knights or baronets, were known by the correlative title of Shomyo, that is, ‘small name.’ But this latter fell into disuse. Perhaps it did not sound grand enough to be welcome to those who bore it” (Chamberlain, Things Japanese, 101 seq.).]

DAISEYE, s. This word, representing Desai, repeatedly occurs in Kirkpatrick’s Letters of Tippoo (e.g. p. 196) for a local chief of some class. See DESSAYE.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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