TWENTIETH CENTURY IMPRESSIONS
Thaton by Anawrata, King of Pagan, indicate the subjection of Pegu to foreign rule for a lengthened period.
Taking advantage of the disruption of the Burmese Empire caused by the Mongol invasion, Wareru, a Shan adventurer, proclaimed himself King of the Talaings, in 1287 a.d., at Martaban. Near the close of the fourteenth century, the capital was removed to Pegu. There were sixteen kings belonging to this dynasty, of whom Yazadayit (13851423 a.d.) was famous for his warlike exploits against Ava, and Dhammacheti (1460-91 a.d.), who set up the celebrated KalyanI Inscriptions, was noted for his justice, learning, and piety. Pegu was absorbed by Toungoo, in 1540 a.d., under Tabin Shweti, who was succeeded by his brother-in-law, Bayin Naung, the Branginoco of the Portuguese writers, who reigned for thirty years at Pegu. Being the most vigorous and stimulating personality of modern Burmese history, he united both the Burmese and Talaing nationalities under his rule, and his empire was the most extensive in the Burmese annals. His eldest son, Nanda Bayin or Nga-zu-dayakii, was dethroned and put to death by the King of Toungoo in J599 a.d. ; but, in the same year, his younger son, the Nyaungyan Prince, founded a dynasty at Ava, which was overthrown by the Talaings in 1751 a.d. The Talaing Kingdom of Pegu lingered on till its last king, Byinnya Dala, who subverted the last dynasty of Ava, was, in his turn, conquered by Alompra in 1757 a.d., the very year in which the battle of Plassey was fought in Bengal.
Tagaung.aTagaung, the earliest seat of the Hurmese monarchy, cannot boast of any monument of antiquity. If any had existed, they must have disappeared during the chronic devastating wars, or through the natural process of decay. Terra-cotta tiles bearing the effigy of the Buddha and legends in the ancient deva nagari character have been found, however, which may be referred to the Gupta Period (319 to 606 a.d.). These discoveries indicate early intercourse between Tagaung md Gangetic India through Assam and Manipur rather than through Thaton and Pegu. Systematic excavations may yield interesting results.
Prome.aAccording to the Burmese chron-lcles, Prome or Srikshetra was founded by King Duttabaung, 101 years after the Nirvana Af the Buddha, that is, in the year 442 B.C. Its antiquity must be comparatively high, as it is often referred to in the Chinese annals the Tang dynasty (618-907 a.d.) as the Kingdom of the Piu, and as it was known to
the celebrated Chinese pilgrims, Hiuen Thoang and I-tsing, who visited India in the seventh century, a.d., and left trustworthy accounts of their travels. Indeed, the latter says : a Southward from this, and close to the sea-coast there is a country called Srikshatra.a It is still known to the Hindus as Brahmodesh, and the Irrawaddy (Eravatl) river, on which it stands, is regarded by them as second only to the Ganges in its efficacy to
wash away sin. The ancient connection of Prome with India is further confirmed by the discovery, about fifteen years ago, at Lebaw, a village seven miles to the south of the Hmawza Railway Station, of two gold scrolls containing the well-known Buddhist formula aYe dhamma hetu pabhava,a which is incised in the Eastern Chalukyan script of the seventh or tenth century a.d.
Excavations have recently been conducted at a site called Yathemyo, the City of the Hermit, which is five miles to the east of Prome. The ruins, consisting of earthen ramparts, walled enclosures, burial-ground, stone sculptures, and pagodas in all stages of decay, are found scattered within, roughly speaking, an area of 400 square miles, that is to say, within a distance of about ten miles in the direction of the cardinal points from
the Railway Station as the centre. So far, there are very few data available whereby the finds can be explained. As regards epigraphi-cal evidence, two inscriptions in an unknown script have been found ; but they still remain undeciphered by European scholars. Inscribed votive tablets bearing Sanskrit legends have also been discovered, and they have been referred to the eleventh century a.d. There
SHWE DAGON PAGODA, RANGOON.SHWE DAGON PAGODA, RANGOON.