Country: China, Japan, Korea Category: Culture By: Kiki
The Qilin (also known as Ky lan in Vietnamese, Girin in Korean, Kirin in Japanese and Keileon in Cantonese) is a mythical hooved Chinese chimerical creature known throughout various East Asian cultures, and is said to appear in conjunction with the arrival of a sage. It is a good omen that brings "rui", which translates as "serenity" or "prosperity". It is often depicted with what looks like fire all over its body.

The earliest references to the Qilin are in the 5th century BC book Zuo Zhuan. The Qilin made appearances in a variety of subsequent Chinese works of history and fiction. At one point, however, it became identified with the giraffe, and even today, the giraffe is called a "kirin" by the Japanese, Taiwanese and Koreans.

The Qilin became a stylised representation of the giraffe during the Ming dynasty. It is known that on Zheng He's voyage to East Africa (landing, among other places, in modern day Kenya), the fleet brought back two giraffes to Beijing. It is also known that these two giraffes were referred to as "Qilins". The Emperor proclaimed the giraffes magical creatures, whose capture signalled the greatness of his power.

The identification between the Qilin and the giraffe is supported by some attributes of the Qilin, including its vegetarian and quiet nature. Its reputed ability to "walk on grass without disturbing it" may be related to the giraffe's long legs. Also the Qilin is described as having antlers like a deer and scales like a dragon or fish; since the giraffe has horn-like "ossicones" on its head and a tessellated coat pattern that looks like scales it is easy to draw an analogy between the two creatures. It is unlikely that giraffes and qilin were regarded as the same creature in pre-modern times however. For example, typical depictions of the Qilin have much shorter necks than giraffes.

Although it looks fearsome, the Qilin only punishes the wicked. It can walk on grass yet not trample the blades and it can also walk on water. Being a peaceful creature, its diet does not include flesh. It takes great care when it walks never to tread on any living thing, and it is said to appear only in areas ruled by a wise and benevolent leader (some say even if this area is only a house). It is normally gentle but can become fierce if a pure person is threatened by a sinner, spouting flames from its mouth and exercising other fearsome powers that vary from story to story.

Some stories state that the Qilin is a sacred pet (or familiar) of the deities. Therefore, in the hierarchy of dances performed by the Chinese (Lion Dance, Dragon Dance, etc.), the Qilin ranks highly, second only to the Dragon and Phoenix. In the Qilin Dance, movements are characterised by fast, powerful strokes of the head. The Qilin Dance is often regarded as a hard dance to perform due to the weight of the head, stances and the emphasis on "fa jin", or outbursts of strength, power and/or energy.

There are variations in the appearance of the qilin, even as seen in a single country such as China, owing to cultural differences between dynasties and regions. In the Ming dynasty of China (13681644) the Qilin is represented as an oxen-hooved animal with a dragon-like head surmounted by a pair of horns and flame-like head ornaments. The Qilin of China's subsequent Manchurian dominated Qing dynasty (16441911) is a much more fanciful animal. Manchurian depictions of the Qilin show a creature with the head of a dragon, the antlers of a deer, the skin and scales of a fish, the hooves of an ox and tail of a lion.

In Japanese, the Qilin is called Kirin. Japanese art tends to depict the Qilin as more deer-like than in Chinese art. Kirin Brewery Company, Ltd. is named after the animal, and the word Kirin has also come to be used in modern Japanese for a giraffe. In the Post-Qin Chinese hierarchy of mythological animals, the Qilin is ranked as the third most powerful creature (after the dragon and phoenix), but in Japan, the Kirin occupies the top spot. This is following the style of the ancient Chinese, as Qilin, before the Qin Dynasty, was ranked higher than the Dragon or Phoenix. In fact, during the Zhou Dynasty, the Dragon is the third and the Phoenix is second.

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The abtiily to think like that is always a joy to behold
December 05, 2016



What litiarbeng knowledge. Give me liberty or give me death.
December 05, 2016



October 05, 2016


Kralupy Nad Vltavou

October 02, 2016



miya ãã:Hi RyuVery good to hear from you. How's life in Boston?Actually there are lot's of Condos there which were converted in to luuxary cond's from hotels before they were started their construction.I don't know the exact reson why, but anyway I saw some of them such us Jean Nouvel's and HdeM's around Soho. They are now under consrtuction. You will see Nouvel's has almost done the exterior, but the latter has just exposed its concrete structure so far.Of course their rents are surprising. While the new upper class are living in Brooklyn such as along L-line rising up the average incomes and rents of the areas, the luxury Manhattan areas such as around Soho are boosting up its prestigious states by rebuilding brand new buildings.What's also amazing is Prada in Soho designed by OMA has been rearranged the interior. Its first floor was originally designed as only a kind of show window'/ void space, and the basement was for retail for men/women. But now the first floor is just a men's floor and the basement floor is for women. The charming cabinet designed by SANAA seemed in no use. It seems the fundamental idea well-organized Programing space' has totally gone. It is sadly just a commercial space like others swallowed into Sohoism'.
November 05, 2014
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