TOOLSY, s. The holy Basil of the Hindus (Ocimum sanctum, L.), Skt. tulsi or tulasi, frequently planted in a vase upon a pedestal of masonry in the vicinity of Hindu temples or dwellings. Sometimes the ashes of deceased relatives are preserved in these domestic shrines. The practice is alluded to by Fr. Odoric as in use at Tana, near Bombay (see Cathay, i. 59, c. 1322); and it is accurately described by the later ecclesiastic quoted below. See also Ward’s Hindoos, ii. 203. The plant has also a kind of sanctity in the Greek Church, and a character for sanitary value at least on the shores of the Mediterranean generally.

[c. 1650.—“They who bear the tulasi round the neck…they are Vaishnavas, and sanctify the world.”—Bh akta Mala, in H. H. Wilson’s Works, i. 41.]

1672.—“Almost all the Hindus…adore a plant like our Basilico gentile, but of more pungent odour.…Every one before his house has a little altar, girt with a wall half an ell high, in the middle of which they erect certain pedestals like little towers, and in these the shrub is grown. They recite their prayers daily before it, with repeated prostrations, sprinklings of water, &c. There are also many of these maintained at the bathing-places, and in the courts of the pagodas.”—P. Vincenzo Maria, 300.

1673.—“They plaster Cow-dung before their Doors; and so keep themselves clean, having a little place or two built up a Foot Square of Mud, where they plant Calaminth, or (by them called) Tulce, which they worship every Morning, and tend with Diligence.”—Fryer, 199.

1842.—“Veneram a planta chamada Tulosse, por dizerem é do pateo dos Deoses, e por isso é commun no pateo de suas casas, e todas as manhãs lhe vão tributar veneração.”—Annaes Maritimos, iii. 453.

1872.—“At the head of the ghát, on either side, is a sacred tulasi plant…placed on a high pedestal of masonry.”—Govinda Samanta, i. 18.
The following illustrates the esteem attached to Toolsy in S. Europe:

1885.—“I have frequently realised how much prized the basil is in Greece for its mystic properties. The herb, which they say grew on Christ’s grave, is almost worshipped in the Eastern Church. On St. Basil’s day women take sprigs of this plant to be blessed in church. On returning home they cast some on the floor of the house, to secure luck for the ensuing year. They eat a little with their household, and no sickness, they maintain, will attack them for a year. Another bit they put in their cupboard, and firmly believe that their embroideries and silken raiment will be free from the visitation of rats, mice, and moths, for the same period.”—J. T. Bent, The Cyclades, p. 328.

TOOMONGONG, s. A Malay t itle, especially known as borne by one of the ch iefs of Johor, from whom the Island of Singapore was purchased. The Sultans of Johor are the representatives of the old Mahommedan dynasty of Malacca, which took refuge in Johor, and the adjoining islands (including Bintang especially), when expelled by Albuquerque in 1511, whilst the Tumanggung was a minister who had in Peshwa fashion appropriated the power of the Sultan, with hereditary tenure: and this chief now lives, we believe, at Singapore. Crawfurd says: “The word is most probably Javanese; and in Java is the title of a class of nobles, not of an office” (Malay Dict. s.v.) [1774.—“Paid a visit to the Sultan…and Pangaram Toomongong.…”—Diary of J. Herbert, in Forrest, Bombay Letters, Home Series, ii. 438.

[1830.—“This (Bopáti), however, is rather a title of office than of mere rank, as these governors are sometimes Tumúng’gungs, An’gebáis, and of still inferior rank.”—Raffles, Java, 2nd ed. i. 299.]

1884.—“Singapore had originally been purchased from two Malay chiefs; the Sultan and Tumangong of Johore. The former, when Sir Stamford Raffles entered into the arrangement with them, was the titular sovereign, whilst the latter, who held an hereditary office, was the real ruler.”—Cavenagh, Reminis. of an Indian Official, 273.

TOON, TOON-WOOD, s. The tree and timber of the Cedrela Toona, Roxb. N.O. Meliaceae. Hind. tun, tun, Skt. tunna. The timber is like a poor mahogany, and it is commonly used for furniture and fine joiner’s work in many parts of India. It is identified by Bentham with the Red Cedar of N.S. Wales and Queensland (Cedrela australis, F. Mueller). See Brandis, Forest Flora, 73. A sp. of the same genus (C. sinensis) is called in Chinese ch’un, which looks like the same word.

[1798.—The tree first described by Sir W. Jones, As. Res. iv. 288.]

1810.—“The toon, or country mahogany, which comes from Bengal.…”—Maria Graham, 101.

1837.—“Rosellini informs us that there is an Egyptian harp at Florence, of which the wood is what is commonly called E. Indian mahogany (Athenaeum, July 22, 1837). This may be the Cedrela Toona.”—Royle’s Hindu Medicine, 30.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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