Thursday, April 19

Q is for Qilin

A qilin of the Qing dynasty in
Beijing's Summer Palace
Name: Qilin

Type: Chinese chimera

Origin: Chinese mythology

Description: The Qilin is a hooved chimera sometimes portrayed as having parts of a fish, dragon, ox, lion and/or even a tiger. They are said to bring prosperity and only appear in land ruled by a peaceful or a wise man. For instance, the birth of Confucius was foretold by arrival of a Qilin.

The Qilin's origins are tied to Chinese exploration of Africa around the 5th century. The Zheng He's exploration of the areas around modern Somalia were successful, and they obtained some giraffes and other animals which they brought back to China. The word Geri, which in Somalia means giraffe, is the base word for Qilin. The slender high figure of the Qilin gave it special properties, such as walking on water and walking in grass without damaging the blades of the grass. The Qilin love the righteous and should anyone evil try to attack them while a Qilin is close by, the Qilin would attack the wicked by shooting flames from its mouth or using other powers.

Interesting Facts: The Chinese have the Qilin as their third most powerful creature after the dragon and the phoenix. This was not always been the case. Before the Qin-dynasty, the Qilin was ranked the highest. In Japan, the Kirin is the same as the Chinese Qilin. The Japanese still honor pre-Qin dynasty mythology and have the Kirin as the top creature in their culture.

What Q creatures or beings do you know of?


  1. Thanks for stopping by, Laura! I did Qiqirn last year. :-D

  2. Very interesting - I had never heard of this creature before.


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