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Qilin: the Incredible Chinese Unicorn!

May 04, 2021 6 min read

Qilin: the Incredible Chinese Unicorn!

As we know, many types of unicorns have existed across the globe and through the ages. The history of unicornsis sometimes mixed to suit the speaker. This is why we stand behind the quality of the information in this article. Nothing will be able to teach you false or completely crazy things. Here, in the world of unicorn enthusiasts, you will know the truth and nothing but the truth! One of them is very surprising in many ways: the Chinese unicorn, the Qilin. This word sounds far-fetched, yet this creature is real 😲 !

1) Chinese Mythology: The Qilin

This extraordinary mythical animal is full of incredible powers. And yet, it looks nothing like the traditional unicorns such as the white unicorn as seen on this Unicorn Bedding Flying.

Qilin: the Incredible Chinese Unicorn!
If you're interested in Chinese mythology and history, then it's worth looking at where the Qilin comes from! China is full of fantastic creatures. Some of them are very popular, like the dragon, the phoenix, the turtle, and of course the Chinese unicorn. These four beasts are in fact the four sacred animals of East Asia! "Qilin" is pronounced "Tchi Line".

In China the Qilinis a mythical beast of virtues. It belongs to Chinese mythology and etymologically means "Male (Qi) - Female (Lin)". It is therefore a representation of the combination of male and female. It has similarities with the traditional white unicorn: this can be seen by studying the History and Legend of the Unicorn.

2) What is a Qilin?

It is said that the Qilin appeared in 2697 BC in the garden of the legendary Yellow Emperor of China, Huangdi. They are among the friendliest animals on the planet. They never attack birds or other animals. This is one of the differences with European unicorns: the latter, although virtuous and gentle, were also considered to be powerful and dangerous creatures.
Statue Qilin
So much so that in some representations of the Chinese unicorn, the unicorn would not walk on grass for fear of hurting innocent plants and insects. They prefer to invoke fountains of water or clouds, and transport themselves on them!

Gentle indeed, but the Qilin is not defenceless. It can breathe fire and will not hesitate to use it to protect innocent people from evil creatures. Just like the European unicorns, the Qilin knows how to recognize goodness of soul. Only the pure of heart can see a Qilin.

3) What does the Chinese Unicorn look like?

For those who have never seen one, the Qilin has a very strange appearance, totally different from the white unicorn. There are several descriptions of it, but it is usually depicted as a creature vaguely reminiscent of the Chinese dragon (a famous monster found in New Year's parades), with four legs. It also has a body encrusted with beautiful gems.

Dragon Chinese
Of course, in some descriptions, it has a horn on the middle of its forehead, like European unicorns: hence its nickname of Chinese unicorn. Sometimes it is depicted with two horns. In other cases, it is shown with antlers.

The Qilin usually has a dragon or tiger head. Its body is similar to that of a deer, and it carries an ox tail or a serpentine tail. Some Qilins have special features such as carp whiskers, feathers, shiny scales, or a mane of fire.

The European unicorn has a special place in our hearts, but one cannot help but admire the originality of the Qilin because of the mixture of animals it represents.
types of Chinese unicorns

4) The Powers of the Chinese Unicorn

Now comes the question that everyone is asking: what is a Qilin capable of? The powers that the Chinese believe it possesses explain why it is compared with the European unicorn. We already know that both have a kind and calm temperature, but the Qilin has special powers ✨ which have played a major role in its mythology!

Qilins are often associated with the birth of great leaders or important personalities, such as Confucius the Wise in the 6th century BC. Indeed, it is said that his mother saw a Qilin who spat out a jade tablet predicting the birth of the baby. Another Qilin was seen at the death of Confucius, when he was injured by a cart driver.
Chinese Mythology Qilin
The Qilins only appear to people who have a pure heart and a great destiny. Their appearance is a sign of good luck. It was said that the Chinese unicorn only appeared during the reign of a great ruler. The fact that they are associated with benevolent people makes them similar to their European cousins. Indeed, only virgin girls and benevolent people can have the chance to meet them.

Qilins also have the power to predict when a person will have an extraordinary life or destiny. Seeing one is an incredible good luck charm πŸ€ and sometimes even a sign of future prosperity for an entire country. It seems that Chinese mythology considers them more powerful than European unicorns, but both are a sign of luck and are extremely rare.
Chinese Unicorn
In reality, Chinese unicorns are only on Earth at certain times. Most of the time, they are in the realm of the gods! They can bridge the gap between the world of the living and the world of the dead, and are reputed to have transported the greatest Chinese heroes from heaven to earth. The noblest souls are also entitled to be transported from earth to heaven when they die! Again, we see the relationship with the European unicorn, which can cross both worlds.

In short, the Qilins herald future leaders or people with extraordinary destinies, can predict the future, bring luck and happiness, and ensure the passage between life and death. It is easy to understand why they are so adored by the Chinese people πŸ™Œ !

5) The Qilin Giraffe

There are legends about the similarities between the giraffe and the Qilin. In the 15th century, the Emperor Yongle (a Ming emperor) brought back two giraffes from his trip to East Africa. He said that these two creatures were related to the Qilin and their magic, and that their presence proved that he was a great ruler. In another version of this story, it is said that the same Emperor was offered a giraffe and told that it was a Qilin! But the emperor saw the trick and proclaimed that it was not a Qilin.
The Girafe "Qilin"
Whatever the truth, it is true that the giraffe resembles the Chinese unicorn in some ways. For example, both are gentle and calm vegetarians, with very notable physical characteristics. So much so that in Japan the same word is used for both ("Girin" for giraffe, "Kirin" for Qilin)!

6) The Qilin Dance

The Qilin has given birth to a dance in China! It looks like the lion dance, which you probably know. Its movements are a bit different. The world is becoming more interested in China and its culture, so maybe the Qilin dance will become more popular 😊!

It requires two dancers for each Qilin, and perfect coordination! It is characterized by wide movements of the head of the Qilin, very heavy. The dancer under the head must therefore have an excellent level, as shown in the video.

It is usually accompanied by traditional music and beautiful multicoloured costumes as we are used to see in Chinese culture. It is difficult to perform as you can see. Some people call it the unicorn dance. We would like to see it everywhere in the world!

The Chinese Unicorn

Β To sum up, the Chinese unicorn is in a way the equivalent of the European unicorn, but with the same characteristics, but pushed to the extreme! More powerful, more beautiful, but also nicer (it is afraid to damage the grass!). She is almost equal to the gods in Chinese culture, and has taken on a very great importance in Chinese history. Let's hope that the world will learn to know and respect the Qilin as much as our white unicorn!

In any case, the Chinese unicorn will have given us a new perspective on mythical creatures. The fact that a people revere such a kind and noble creature is encouraging! As long as Qilins and unicorns exist, they will continue to spread peace, joy and help us in times of trouble!

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