LadyKirin - Young at Heart! LadyKirin - Young at Heart! LadyKirin - Young at Heart!


all five above are carved from wood
Ivory netsuke similar to one on left
these three are carved in mammoth ivory
 Amber Netsuke signed on tummy by artist Jade Netsuke
left is carved in amber,
right is carved in Burmese jade


left is wood inro, right is silly glass

~ Kirin Brewing Company logo ~
When people ask "what is a kirin" I tell them to look on a Kirin beer bottle! The company does make many non-alcoholic beverages too.
A kirin (also known as qilin, kylin, or ki-lin, but represented by the same kanji) is a mythological beastie from Asia usually depicted with the head and scales of a dragon, the legs, cloven hooves, and horn(s) of a deer; and the mane and tail of a lion. It is sometimes called the "Chinese unicorn" because of its similarity to the Western unicorn, however, it is very often depicted with two horns.  It is usually shown with stylized flames around the legs.

Much more rare than a regular dragon, it was considered very wise, and a bringer of rui which roughly translates as serentity or prosperity, thus the Chinese versions often have it depicted sitting or standing on a pile of money and gold. 

In the art of Feng Shui, it is one of the four auspicious creatures and its element is Earth.  One ancient Chinese tale has a kirin appearing at the birth and death of Confucius as an auspicious omen, while another tale has a ki-lin as Confucius' father.

The qilin, though fearsome looking, only punishes the wicked.  It is normally gentle but can become fiercely protective if a pure person is being threatened by evil.  It can walk on grass without trampling it and can even walk on water or the clouds.  A kylin is sometimes depicted as the mount of the deities as shown in a wood statue below.  Thus in the hierarchy of dances the Qilin dance is third only to the Dragon and Phoenix dances. 

Just click on the thumbnails to see the full sized pic.  All of these kirin are from my personal collection.

Back when I first went online, I was looking for a unique mythological creature to use in creating my screenname.  I loved what I learned about kirin and have since used some form of kirin in all my online ID's. 

left was my very first kirin statue!
 Front of an ivory snuff jarback of ivory snuff jarI special ordered this from Singapore
left two pics are of a mammoth ivory snuff bottle,
middle is hand blown glass from Singapore
Blue and White porcelain
left two show the baby and sphere variations for
male and female kylin, right is porcelain

right is same silver coin showing Western
unicorn on one side and Eastern kylin on other
  A Burmese Jade incense burner with silver finishes
right is an incense burner w/ silver trim
  colorful kirin with kanji/chinese characters on plaque
center are matched set of enamel cylindars,
right is porcelain perfume bottle

The left 3 pics are of a very stylized kirin that looked like it had burned incense at one time.
The right two pictures are of a regional variation of a kylin with lion/dog type feet. Two very nice, elderly
Chinese ladies  informed me that the scales and horns definitely make them kylin, not lions/dogs.
The center picture is a wood statue, possibly of Kuan Yin (Guanyin), the Chinese goddess of mercy, riding a kylin.
LadyKirin - Young at Heart!