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