Qilin the Dragon-like #AtoZChallenge

Part of the A-to-Z blog challenge. My theme is legends and legendary creatures (both real and fiction). I hope you enjoy following along!

Qilin of Asia

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by KatePfeilschiefter

A mythical hooved creature from Chinese and Asian culture, said to appear with the arrival or passing of a sage or great ruler, and seen as a good omen.

The qilin is described as a vegetarian with a quiet nature, bearing antlers like a deer and scales like a dragon or carp fish, eyes with thick eyelashes, and manes and beards that flow up. The body is depicted in many different forms, but mostly shaped like an ox, deer, or horse. Sometimes they have feathery features and decorations, curly tufts of hair on parts of the legs, or decorative fish-like fins or whiskers.

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According to Taoist mythology, although they can look fearsome, qilin were creatures who punished the wicked. They were seen as divinely knowing whether a person was good or evil, guilty or innocent, in ancient lore and stories.

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Later in legend, the qilin became a stylized representation of the giraffe in the Ming dynasty. This began after Zheng He’s voyage to East Africa when the Ming Dynasty bought giraffes from Somali merchants. They were referred to as “qilins” so that the Emperor could claim he possessed “magical creatures” (though they were just giraffes), and act like it was some symbol of the greatness of his “power.”

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When I read through The Lunar Chronicles book #1, Cinder, these qilin creatures were mentioned as decorating the king’s palace. I couldn’t resist researching them a bit. 🙂 They are curious-looking, aren’t they?

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Do you prefer a giraffe qilin or a scaly qilin?
If you read Cinder, did you recognize these creatures right away?

Join us tomorrow in another mysterious legend! Don’t forget to click on the “Follow” button to be notified of new blog posts!

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(Information: wikipedia, credit: Art/gifs belongs to their respective owners, not me.)

13 thoughts on “Qilin the Dragon-like #AtoZChallenge

  1. I think I prefer the scaly qilin for the same reason Phoenix gave. Though I kinda like the blue-and-red one in the very first picture. It’s purdy, if not scary. 😉 And in general, it’s interesting to see how dragons are portrayed in different cultures.

    Have you read Eon by Alison Goodman? That’s another Asian-inspired story featuring dragons, though I don’t think they were specifically qilin.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read Cinder, but I keep seeing the covers for the Lunar Chronicles all over the place, so I’ll probably pick them up soon (and keep an eye out for the mentions of these interesting creatures!) I don’t know which one I like better, but the giraffe one kind of reminds me of the character Discord in the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic cartoon (that my children watch, and I watch with them without complaining… haha) he’s my favorite character because: John DeLancie = Q… so I’m gonna have to be partial to the giraffe-looking one. The scaly one is cool, too, though! Ah! I can’t decide. Thanks for writing about these, I’ve never heard of them before!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’ll enjoy them! The character Cinder is one of my favorites now. 🙂
      Oh wow, you’re right! I just Googled Discord and that is one odd looking pony (so different from the old 90’s ones I grew up with)! 😀 Ohmygoodness, he was Q? Lol, I loved Q! Okay part of me likes the giraffe-version now too.
      Your welcome, it’s been fun sharing these! 😀


  3. I prefer the scaled version and I knew about these creatures way before Cinder because of a drawing book. I drew one once and I really want to include these in my stories sometime. I love the mixture of animals.


    Liked by 1 person

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