Chinese Unicorns: Harbingers of Good Omens

Considering that fanciful animals, which the Chinese collectively dub pixiu (pi hsieh), typically stem from a real creature, the question must be asked: Were there once horses with horns? Although unicorns feature in worldwide cultures, there is no evidence to support their existence. However, there are deer, which have horns, and sometimes the Chinese portrayal of unicorns, which they call qilin (ch’i-lin) display a deer’s attributes, while others have attributes of multiple animals juxtaposed onto them.

(Read Part 1 here: Chinese Fantastic Beasts the Taotie Demon Who Eats Humans)

Ceramic figures decorating the Hall of Supreme Harmony at the Imperial Palace Museum. The 10 mystical beasts indicate the highest status in the empire for this building (CC BY-SA 1.0)

Ceramic figures decorating the Hall of Supreme Harmony at the Imperial Palace Museum. The 10 mystical beasts indicate the highest status in the empire for this building (CC BY-SA 1.0)


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