On a Mongolian translation of the term “tianmo (天魔)” in the dance name “十六天魔舞蹈”: A word “dagini”


  • Saranchimeg Kh
  • Otgonsuren Ts


The dance “十六天魔舞蹈”was rediscovered in the Palace of the Yuan Dyn-asty in 1354, during the reign of the Last Emperor Togoontumur. This article touches upon the term tianmo (天魔) in the dance name “十六天魔舞蹈”commonly recorded in the Chinese sources in which Mongolian history is noted. This term is conveyed by most Chinese readers and translators as šimnu (ᠰᠢᠮᠨᠦ) which is the literal translation into Mongolian. Having examined historical sources and linguistic facts through hermeneutics, this research reveals that the term tianmo (天魔) should be translated as dagini (ᠳᠠᠭᠢᠨᠢ) into Mongolian and dakini into English as its transliteration for keeping its Tibetan origin dakini (མཁའ་འགྲོ།) which supports our hypothesis that the dance is a Tantric ritual of Buddhism and a path to Enlightenment for the Emperor, but not a main reason for the downfall of the Yuan Dynasty.


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