Chinese Mythology

The Folk Gods and Spirits of the Middle Kingdom


Chinese fabulous creature

Also known as Ch'i-Lin, Chi-Lin, Ki-Lin, Kirin, Ky-Lin, Qi-Lin

The Chinese Unicorn

Or is it? Despite what you might see in New Age stores, many Qilins 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 Qilins, okay?

As one of the Four Fabulous Beasts of Chinese Mythology (Sì Xiàng), the Qilins 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 Qilin, and they are particularly good at sparing the innocent and spearing the guilty in courtroom dramas. See Gao Yao.

Qilin Facts and Figures

Name: Qilin
Pronunciation: Chee Leen
Alternative names: Ch'i-Lin, Chi-Lin, Ki-Lin, Kirin, Ky-Lin, Qi-Lin

Gender: Sorry, we don't know
Type: fabulous creature
Celebration or Feast Day: Unknown at present

Role: Unknown at present

Good/Evil Rating: Unknown at present
Popularity index: 6034

Copy this link to share with anyone:

Share this page on social media:

Link to this page:

HTML: To link to this page, just copy and paste the link below into your blog, web page or email.

BBCODE: To link to this page in a forum post or comment box, just copy and paste the link code below:

Cite this article

Here's the info you need to cite this page. Just copy the text in the box below.

Article last revised on April 21, 2019 by the Godchecker data dwarves.
Editors: Peter J. Allen, Chas Saunders

References: Coming soon.

Permissions page

Oh woe. Javascript is switched off in your browser.
Some bits of this website may not work unless you switch it on.