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Qilin 麒麟


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#76 shunyadragon

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 06:43 AM

The Qilin has, according to some sources, "the body of a deer, the tail of an ox, the hooves of a horse, a body covered with the scales of a fish, and a single horn." That's the origin of the term "Chinese unicorn". However, the Qilin is also often portrayed as having the antlers of a deer - this is a mix-up with the Chinese dragon (long), which does have antlers. See my comment on the picture of the dragon Chiwen in
http://www.chinahist...p?showtopic=333

The Qilin supposedly is a benevolent creature that is only seen during the reign of a benevolent ruler - in the Chunqiu (Spring and Autumn Annals), a Qilin is said to have been captured towards the end of Confucius' life, and Han philosophers later reasoned that this was because Confucius was a benevolent "king without a throne".

The presentation of the giraffe to the court of Zhu Di (Yongle) would have suggested to court ideologists that this was a sign of the emperor's benevolence. It was easy to consider the giraffe to be a Qilin - it does have a head like a deer's, a tail like an ox's, hooves rather like a horse's, a pattern on its body like scales, and two horns (but not one). In fact, some Chinese scholars suggest that the myth of the Qilin arose from a giraffe-like animal that may have once lived in China - perhaps another member of the giraffe family, of which only the giraffe and okapi are left. This bears some similarities to the theory mentioned by Kongmun about the origin of the dragon myth: see

http://www.chinahist...p?showtopic=333


Just like the misleading use of dragon for loong, and phoenix for feng huang, the use of Chinese unicorn for qilin is misleading and leads to misunderstandings concerning Chinese culture. I collect jade carvings and have several qilin carvings, most have horns like a deer, and one has one horn, but none resemble the unicorn. It is very important that this terminology needs to changed.
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#77 William O'Chee

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 06:48 AM

Just like the misleading use of dragon for loong, and phoenix for feng huang, the use of Chinese unicorn for qilin is misleading and leads to misunderstandings concerning Chinese culture. I collect jade carvings and have several qilin carvings, most have horns like a deer, and one has one horn, but none resemble the unicorn. It is very important that this terminology needs to changed.

Do you subscribe to the view that the gender determines the number of horns on the qilin?

#78 shunyadragon

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 09:31 PM

Do you subscribe to the view that the gender determines the number of horns on the qilin?


The following is from my dictionary on jade culture that may shed some light on the qilin. i may post more from my notes later like the poem kongzi wrote near the time of his death concerning the qilin.

麒麐qln: Deer-like spotted or scaled loong of Chinese legend depicted with one horn lying back against the neck or two deer-like horns with the mane of a lion and the hoves of a horse. Often misnamed as the unicorn or Chinese unicorn in western literature. Some describe the qilin as a hermorphidite, or as both male and female. Others describe the one horned qilin as male and the two deer-like horned loong as female. The mythical loong of the western quadrant representing benevolence and harmony of the four principle mythical creatures that resided in each of the four compass quadrants called the siling [四霛(四灵)].

The qilin is associated with emperors and Kongzi in announcing the birth, and the death of these great leaders. The qilin is said to appear to Kongzis mother to announce his birth, and to appear to kongzi near the time of his death when he wrote a poem devoted to the qilin.

Edited by shunyadragon, 29 September 2008 - 11:12 PM.

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#79 shunyadragon

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 09:52 PM

Do you subscribe to the view that the gender determines the number of horns on the qilin?


Kongzi's poem concerning the qilin

在遥远的上古时候,
麒麟和凤凰飞走了,
现在不该他们来的时候他们却来了,
他们在寻找什么呢?
麒麟啊 ,麒麟啊,我的心很悲伤。

In the times of the Tang and Yu,
when the qilin and the feng huang appeared (among men).
What do they foretell (seek)?
Oh qilin! Oh Qilin! My heart weakened (saddened).

Edited by shunyadragon, 30 September 2008 - 12:07 PM.

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#80 shunyadragon

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 10:17 PM

I'm pretty positive it's the tiger, but dang if I can find a reference.

There was another thread on a similar topic where I pointed out that people where going to use what animals they were familiar with, i.e. if there are no tigers in the area they would go with something they know, hence the differences. But I'll keep looking.


There are different sets of celestial mythical animals that represent the four quadrants. the wang loong is always in the east, and the feng huang in the south.
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#81 kaiselin

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 10:28 PM

The following is from my dictionary on jade culture that may shed some light on the qilin. i may post more from my notes later like the poem kongzi wrote near the time of his death concerning the qilin.

麒麐qln: Deer-like spotted or scaled loong of Chinese legend depicted with one horn lying back against the neck or two deer-like horns with the mane of a lion and the hoves of a horse. Often misnamed as the unicorn or Chinese unicorn in western literature. Some describe the qilin as a hermorphidite, or as both male and femeale. Others describe the one horned qilin as male and the two deer-like horned loong as female. The mythical loong of the western quadrant representing benevolence and harmony of the four principle mythical creatures that resided in each of the four compass quadrants called the siling [四霛(四灵)].

The qilin is associated with emperors and Kongzi in announcing the birth, and the death of these great leaders. The qilin is said to appear to Kongzis mother to announce his birth, and to appear to kongzi near the time of his death when he wrote a poem devoted to the qilin.


Thanks for this information, Shunyadragon,
Could you please give all the pertinent information on your dictionary on jade Culture.

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#82 shunyadragon

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 12:15 PM

Thanks for this information, Shunyadragon,
Could you please give all the pertinent information on your dictionary on jade Culture.



Please provide more information on what you mean by pertinent information. I have worked on the Dictionary for about 15 years in China and the USA. I will e-mail you for more information.

A few comments on the colors of Qilin from my notes. Sources indicate that there are five different colors of qilin posibly representing five different qilin or combinations of colors of one or more qilin. The colors apparently represent the five aspects of Chinese character, such as benevolence, justice, prosperity, happiness, harmony.

1. jade - qingyu (very pale green) or mutton fat white.
2. fire - some qilin illustration show flames on qilin.
3. gold
4. white
5. black

By the way the qilin is considered a loong in Chinese mythology.

Edited by shunyadragon, 30 September 2008 - 12:16 PM.

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#83 Pattie

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 01:27 PM

Please provide more information on what you mean by pertinent information. I have worked on the Dictionary for about 15 years in China and the USA. I will e-mail you for more information.


She means can we get a copy. Is it published and if yes, is it available in the US?

A few comments on the colors of Qilin from my notes. Sources indicate that there are five different colors of qilin possibly representing five different qilin or combinations of colors of one or more qilin. The colors apparently represent the five aspects of Chinese character, such as benevolence, justice, prosperity, happiness, harmony.

1. jade - qingyu (very pale green) or mutton fat white.
2. fire - some qilin illustration show flames on qilin.
3. gold
4. white
5. black


What color would be considered fire? I would have put that as gold, myself.

By the way the qilin is considered a loong in Chinese mythology.


A dragon? According to whom? I've only ever seen them as separate creatures. Can you tell us where you read this?
Cheers,
 

Pattie


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#84 shunyadragon

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 05:08 PM

She means can we get a copy. Is it published and if yes, is it available in the US?


Not published yet, keep you informed



What color would be considered fire? I would have put that as gold, myself.


Look at the illustrations shown on this thread, some show stylized flames coming off the qilin. The color of the fire is probably considered red or orange.



A dragon? According to whom? I've only ever seen them as separate creatures. Can you tell us where you read this?


I consider the qilin a loong (dragon) based on the description in my notes some of the sources such as this one. Remember there are many kinds of loong in Chinese mythology.

[cite=http://www.webspawner.com/users/qilinkongzi/index.html] Indeed, the Qilin is a combination of five animals. It has the face of a dragon, the body of a deer, the mane of a lion, the tail of an ox and the hooves of a horse. In a sense, the Qilin symbolizes the harmonization of these disparate elements, colors and parts.

The spiral horn of the Qilin faces backwards. This indicates its peaceful intentions. Its horn may be a kind of fertility symbol because it represents the wish for a son. It is the male Qilin that has a horn. Its horn may also symbolize an eclipse of the sun because the horn is the same shape as the crescent of the sun. The gender of the Qilin is both male and female as indicated by the Chinese name 麒麟 which is a combination of the two characters chi (male) and lin (female). [/cite]

I was interested in this thread, because I needed more info on the qilin. I consider it a loong, because of the description and nature, but I am open to more informatiion concerning the nature of the qilin.

Edited by shunyadragon, 30 September 2008 - 05:09 PM.

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#85 kaiselin

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 08:57 PM

Not published yet, keep you informed





Look at the illustrations shown on this thread, some show stylized flames coming off the qilin. The color of the fire is probably considered red or orange.





I consider the qilin a loong (dragon) based on the description in my notes some of the sources such as this one. Remember there are many kinds of loong in Chinese mythology.

[cite=http://www.webspawner.com/users/qilinkongzi/index.html] Indeed, the Qilin is a combination of five animals. It has the face of a dragon, the body of a deer, the mane of a lion, the tail of an ox and the hooves of a horse. In a sense, the Qilin symbolizes the harmonization of these disparate elements, colors and parts.

The spiral horn of the Qilin faces backwards. This indicates its peaceful intentions. Its horn may be a kind of fertility symbol because it represents the wish for a son. It is the male Qilin that has a horn. Its horn may also symbolize an eclipse of the sun because the horn is the same shape as the crescent of the sun. The gender of the Qilin is both male and female as indicated by the Chinese name 麒麟 which is a combination of the two characters chi (male) and lin (female). [/cite]

I was interested in this thread, because I needed more info on the qilin. I consider it a loong, because of the description and nature, but I am open to more informatiion concerning the nature of the qilin.



I totally agree with you on the fact that the qilin is a dragon / long. In my own researching there is no doubt.

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#86 shunyadragon

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 06:25 PM

I totally agree with you on the fact that the qilin is a dragon / long. In my own researching there is no doubt.


I found an old poem that refers to the qilin as lin. The following is a rough interpretive translation of this poem. If anyone has any recommendations or suggestions concerning the 'lin' or translation of this poem please offer.

Question?? Is the qilin the same as the lin as I interpret it to be?

麟 之 趾

麟 之 趾 振﹐振 公 子。
Ln zhī zhǐ zhn, zhn gōng zǐ.
(When the)Lin appears in a prance, sons of the Duke will follow.
于﹐嗟﹐麟﹐兮!
Y, jiē, ln, xī!
O fortuitous majestic Lin!

麟 之 定 振﹐振 公 姓。
Ln zhī dng zhn, zhn gōng xng.
(When the) Lin subtly moves, the Duke will be blessed by sons.
于﹐嗟﹐麟﹐兮!
Y, jiē, ln, xī!
O blessed fruitful Lin

麟 之 角 振﹐振 公 族。
Ln zhī jiǎo zhn, zhn gōng z.
(When the) Lins horn(s) waves, the Dukes sons will be born.
于﹐嗟﹐麟﹐兮!
Y, jiē, ln, xī!
O noble honored Lin!
Frank

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#87 marathon

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 08:03 PM

There are pictures of two different kinds of qilin used in qilin dances at this website. One is the Kejia qilin, the other is the Hailufeng qilin. Both of these have single horns. The Kejia qilin is sometimes also called the nan qilin, or southern qilin. There are bei qilin (northern qilin) dances that are also performed; these colorful beasts have two horns. Some, but not all, of the northern qilin strongly resemble their southern cousins. Other northern qilin look completely different.

http://www.ofcoursel...isc/miniatures/

#88 kaiselin

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 08:41 PM

There are pictures of two different kinds of qilin used in qilin dances at this website. One is the Kejia qilin, the other is the Hailufeng qilin. Both of these have single horns. The Kejia qilin is sometimes also called the nan qilin, or southern qilin. There are bei qilin (northern qilin) dances that are also performed; these colorful beasts have two horns. Some, but not all, of the northern qilin strongly resemble their southern cousins. Other northern qilin look completely different.

http://www.ofcoursel...isc/miniatures/



Hi Marathon,
Your post adds a whole different twist to the Qilin.

You are saying that you see the Qilin and the lion as the same beast. Right?

Edited by kaiselin, 18 November 2008 - 08:42 PM.

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#89 shunyadragon

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 12:22 PM

Hi Marathon,
Your post adds a whole different twist to the Qilin.

You are saying that you see the Qilin and the lion as the same beast. Right?


I do not think that the lion is the same beast. The pictures show three qilins with two horns and three with one horn. The classic lions, or sometimes maybe the dogs lack horns. The classic pairs of lions found in front of buildings in China come from a Buddhist tradition.

What the confusion comes is with the mythical The Pixiu, 貔 獬 A pair of beasts symbolizing wealth mentioned in another thread. The Pixiu is a combination of the male Pi and the female Xiu. The Pi 貔has one horn and the Xiu獬 has two. These apparently may look similar and be confused with both the fudogs, lions and qilin.

Please comment anyone to help resolve the confusion. How would they be used differently?


I found a reference that describe the use of ﹐麟 ln as a poetic abreviation of qilin.

Edited by shunyadragon, 20 November 2008 - 01:05 PM.

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#90 William O'Chee

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 06:41 PM

I found an old poem that refers to the qilin as lin. The following is a rough interpretive translation of this poem. If anyone has any recommendations or suggestions concerning the 'lin' or translation of this poem please offer.

Question?? Is the qilin the same as the lin as I interpret it to be?

麟 之 趾

麟 之 趾 振﹐振 公 子。
Ln zhī zhǐ zhn, zhn gōng zǐ.
(When the)Lin appears in a prance, sons of the Duke will follow.
于﹐嗟﹐麟﹐兮!
Y, jiē, ln, xī!
O fortuitous majestic Lin!

麟 之 定 振﹐振 公 姓。
Ln zhī dng zhn, zhn gōng xng.
(When the) Lin subtly moves, the Duke will be blessed by sons.
于﹐嗟﹐麟﹐兮!
Y, jiē, ln, xī!
O blessed fruitful Lin

麟 之 角 振﹐振 公 族。
Ln zhī jiǎo zhn, zhn gōng z.
(When the) Lins horn(s) waves, the Dukes sons will be born.
于﹐嗟﹐麟﹐兮!
Y, jiē, ln, xī!
O noble honored Lin!

I cannot hep on the actual translation, but contextually, it appears that teh lin in question is the qilin, since it refers to fertility, which was one of the blessing bestowed by the qilin.




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