Or is it? Despite what you might see in New Age stores, many QI-LINs have two or three horns, and sometimes even more. Not to mention scaly skin and hefty manes of hair. In fact most of them look more like dragons than unicorns.
And far from being pearly white like traditional Western unicorns, they are available in a range of colors including black, red and green. So let’s just drop the unicorn idea and call them QI-LINs, okay?
As one of the Four Fabulous Beasts of Chinese Mythology (SI-LING), the QI-LINs represent all mammals and furry creatures, as well as the compass direction West. They symbolize purity, innocence, truth and justice, and if one of these rare beasts appears this is regarded as a very good omen.
Many traditional stories are told about the QI-LIN, and they are particularly good at sparing the innocent and spearing the guilty in courtroom dramas. See GAO-YAO.