Ki Lin–Chinese Unicorn   43 comments


Ki Lin – Fabulous Unicorns of Chinese Mythology

(Equus orientalis) (Updated 3 March 2012)


imageThe Chinese Unicorn known as the Ki Lin (pronounced chee-lin), haimages for thousands of years been an integral part of Chinese mythology. It’s most common form and the one most familiar, is that of a horse-like creature, though probably a different branch of the horse family to the Unicorn, with a deer’s body, the tail of an ox, the hooves of a horse, and a single short horn growing prominently from the middle of its forehead. On occasion it is said to have a minimum of three horns! Multi-coloured (five) hair on its back represents the five sacred Chinese colours: red, yellow, blue, white, and black. Yellow hair can be found on its underside. In fact with its green scaly skin and manes of hair it bears a closer resemblance to a dragon than a unicorn. Neither is it the traditional Western unicorns shimmering white colour, but can be found in a range of colours including black, red and green.

The Ki Lin, (Ki, the male Unicorn, and Lin, the female Unicorn.) is a gentle creature that will not harm any living thing. It consumes only non-live plant life such as dead grass. Its exact habitat is unknown but it has a lifespan of around 1,000 years and stands about 1.5m tall. It is also in receipt of powers far greater than those of the “standard unicorn” and these work to ensure that it is impossible to both catch or kill, and it is claimed that it sprang from the centre of the Earth and has the power of speech.


As one of the “Four Fabulous Beasts of Chinese Mythology” the Ki Lin is representative of all mammals and furred creatures, as well as the West-pointing direction of the compass. They symbolise purity, innocence, truth and justice, and in Chinese mythology the Unicorn’s appearance was interpreted as a sign of good times, that came to humans only on important enterprises. It is said it will return again when good and prosperous times return to the lands…could be a long time coming then!

Many traditional Chinese stories indicate that the Ki Lin are great defenders of the innocent but have a particular dislike of the guilty and have a tendency to spear them creating major courtroom dramas! It is thought of as a holy creature. During the Court of Genghis Kharband expedition the Ki Lin passed on a message, speaking with a voice of melodious gong-like quality, of such love and peace to the “Great Leader”  that he was moved to make the momentous decision to recall one of the worst and most bloodthirsty of his military campaigns avoiding much bloodshed.

(Updated 3 March 2012)

43 responses to “Ki Lin–Chinese Unicorn

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  1. Well this is a much shorter version of your creative expertise
    but I have definitely enjoyed the read, of course I was only in
    here to collect, and clean up my e mails but I wanted to drop
    off those dusters, polish and this fail-safe guide into creating
    a Guestbook, so how about that for some inventive thinking?

    Have a wicked weekend
    Icywolfy of the Icy Realm 🙂 😉

    Androgoth XXx

    • 😉 I am very impressed with your creative thinking great Prince of the Gothic Realm! 🙂 It is second to none lol! I trust you too are suitably impressed with my little small and winsy offering 🙂 I was!! My last post was perhaps a little epic in proportion and I wouldn’t want to frighten the readership off now would I? 😉 I know you will be having a very naughty weekend so do enjoy it!! 🙂

      • Actually I am spending some time training the Zombies
        on How Not to Eat Brains while engaging in Pizza making…
        Of course all that licking of the fingers, tomato puree with
        added cheese can be a tad scary at midnight you know? 🙂
        Perhaps you will enjoy a slice later on Icywolfy 🙂

        I like these Mythology postings so I am happy either way…
        Mind you I do like to see more graphics but you have done
        well on this one, besides you will be offering another soon
        so I will be back to have another browse later 🙂

        Androgoth XXx

      • What a delightful occupation lol 🙂 But no doubt your skills in zombie training are also second to none! I will pass in the slice thank you kind Vampire sir 😉 To be wolfishly honest this post is short because that was all I could find on the subject despite extensive research amongst many and varied sources of unhelpfulness! But we will continue to pretend it was all intentional and not let on to anyone else who may read this that it might not have been intentional to produce a winsy little tidgy widgy post shall we? Lol 😉 Our little gothic Wolfie secret yeah?!!! 🙂 😉

      • Yes okay we will keep that to ourselves, besides if it ever got out
        about Icywolfy of the Icy Realm preferring little one’s opposed to the
        larger offerings that could be rather dodgy… And stop drifting off the
        subject too, we are talking about lengthy or short postings so stop
        being so wicked this weekend or else? 🙂 lol

        Those Zombies are hopeless students you know…
        Perhaps I will have to throw them a bloody Pizza
        to keep their interests flowing, or maybe something
        less creepy, as I know they are squeamish diners 🙂

        Have a wickedly nice rest of evening Icywolfy and watch
        out for any naughty party dwellers, just in case you were
        thinking of having one I mean? 🙂

        Androgoth XXx

      • I’m so glad you understand the importance of keeping our little secret about my nice dinky little posting for our eyes only! Wouldn’t want anybody else to see it would we? lol 😉 But I must say that was a Vampishly cheeky and very wicked comment on the subject of my preferences! Like I had a choice! lol 😉 Then again…being a discerning Alpha Female Icewolf I do go for quality over quantity! Though of course if I can combine the two…and I usually do! then all the better 🙂 Postings that is you of the ghoulishly naughty train of thought! lol

        Yes, well, if you’re going to throw those Zombies such a gory Pizza can you please refrain from tossing it absent mindedly into the ICY realm? It went flying across Io which is well known for it’s Pizza like appearance (the sulphur effect in case you were wondering), skimmed tantalisingly close to my hungry Icewolves and got spiked on a Europan iceberg tip, before crash landing most disruptively in the Europan ocean! After I fished your wayward Zombie students out I had to hang them out to dry and they’ve frozen solid now! Come over and collect them? 😉 They’re very unsightly and spoiling the scenic views…and they smell!!!! lol 😉

      • Never mind the Pizza just get
        those yummy Pancakes in the
        pan 🙂 😉 It is Pancake Day Icy 🙂

        Androgoth XXx

      • Ah yes…Pancake day 🙂 And you will of course as is traditional in the Gothic Realm kitchen lol be tossing pancakes ‘in the niff?!!’ 😉 Hmm…goes without saying really doesn’t it?! 🙂

      • You won’t believe it but I forgot to make my Pancakes… Hmm 😦 lol

        Thank you for your kind words of encouragement Icywolfy that is a
        very nice gesture my great friend 🙂 Hey but that doesn’t mean that
        you can have a bigger slice of the Vampire Chocolate Cake though
        so stop licking your lips right now Icywolfy of the Icy Realm 🙂 lol

        Androgoth XXx

      • Where there’s an icewolfie will lol there’s an icewolfie way 😉 especially when Vampire choccie cake is involved! Ohhh yes! Slurp! Slobber! See? Messier even than the ghouls and zombies lol 😉

  2. Hi there Wolfie! I just love Unicorns but I didn’t know they were associated with the Chinese! I love Chinese art too so a double wammie, great blog as always and lots of useful inforation

    Love Suki x

    • I was quite proud of this one Suki ;)…small…tiny…dinky little post!!! Unheard of coming from Wolfie lol…didn’t think I had it in me to produce such a tiny miniscule little jobee like that!! The fact that it would have undoubtedly been an info-packed epic of giant proportions had I had more joy with my deeply unhelpful sources is quite, and totally besides the point of course! lol 😉

      Hope all is well in the Winter Wildwood! Love Wolfie x 🙂

  3. HoooooWWWWLLLoooo dear Wolfie!
    I am surprised I did not see this one sooner!!! I was born the year of the horse 😉 it is now the year of the Dragon…hmmmm perfect timing for this piece, my Alpha Friend ;D

    I love Unicorns…and Wolves and on and on ;))
    love to you,
    Raven xx

  4. I am a dreamer and dreams are the playground of Unicorns !

    • What a lovely thought 🙂 “dreams are the playground of Unicorns!” Creates beautiful imagery. Very dreamy!
      Dreams are also the “playground” of Timid one!! And I know how much you just lurvee to dream of Timid one! lol 😉 🙂

  5. Halloj Wolfie..
    Inte roligt att höra att dina tassar fryser och vill falla av..
    Hoppas det snart blir varmt och skönt för dig wolfie..Stor kram och puss på nosen Nicki

    Jag gillar kinesisk mytologi det är spännande..

    • Spännande också tycker du inte att Wolfie lyckats skriva en så liten, liten blogg inlägg!
      Mycket ovanlig händelse!
      Strunta;) Ingen tvekan nästa kommer att vara mycket lång och gå för evigt!
      Jag har stora feta sockor på mina tassar nu så att de är vackra och varma 🙂
      Jag hoppas att allt är bra med dig och du känner dig bra igen!

  6. Sort of reminds me of my ex-wife:-)

    • Really?!! lol Never heard anyone’s ex described quite that way before!! 😉 I will remember it though…I am sure it will come in most useful at some point along the Wolfie way! lol 😉 Or did you mean she was dreamlike and Chinese in origins?!!

  7. Enjoyable post, and vivid use of words Wolfie

  8. Hi Wolfie, Well the Dreamer is at last walking her way through her list of to visits pages and I just loved these unusual pictures.. Not the usual Unicorn at all.. But then they are Chinese.. Reminding me a little of the Dragon..
    Would that such animals could live upon our realm again Wolfie, and sniff out the guilty, As they spread their light of compassion and sacred honour of all life forms..
    Mankind is way down the list of Compassionate Beings. As we see all the horrors we inflict upon ourselves and our animal kingdom..
    Who knows Wolfie, if we come back to this part of the Galaxy in some future point, I hope Mankind is deserving to have such an excellent creature walking beside him again.. In the mean time my fury friend.. We will have to rely upon your own good paws to keep mankind in check and show him how our four-legged kingdom is superiour in every way..
    Wishing you a week full fo good things my wolfie friend..
    (( Hugs)) to you.. ~Dreamwalker xx

    • Very good of you to find a few moments for the Wolfie blog post 🙂 Are you impressed by its little and concise proportions? lol…I think the Unicom would be very busy should it have to sniff out the guilty amongst us. We are all guilty of something! 🙂

      • I always have a few moments Wolfie for you my friend.. What I dont have is alot of moments LOL at the moment… I thought I was off work tomorrow but ive been called back in to fill in a absence.. so no rest for a Dreamer.. But you are right.. about the guilty… :-)…. my own list must be a mile long.. Trying to let them all go is the real gift…one step at a time.. we overcome all obsticles.. ((hugs))~ Sue

      • I can sympathise with being called back into work to fill absences Dreamy one 🙂 Usually happens whilst I am on leave…although not so frequently now I have a work phone which I lock away in a dark corner with no battery in it when on annual leave 😉 Now it’s more a case of not getting the leave in the first place because a certain work colleague develops a regular need to make urgent trips back to her country at such times! Usually for around 4 weeks at a time…GrrRRRrrrrr 😉 Do as I do Dreamy one…show your Dreamy Fangs and snarl dangerously with an evil glare in your Dreamwalker eyeball! Works for me!! 🙂 Wolfie hugs 🙂

  9. Hello Wolfie,
    The discription of this ancient mythological animal still fits well in today’s world.
    Human kind may progress technologically but our mind is yet served by ancient memories.
    Love your informative well written posts Wolfie.
    peace in our time, Eddie

    • It is strange in our ever progressing technological world we still find such fascination in myth and legend 🙂
      Perhaps there more to be learned from these strange creatures than we realise.
      Thanks for popping in Eddie and have a lovely weekend! Wolfie hugs x 🙂

  10. Dropping in unannounced Wolfie,~ Day off and not a Fang in sight.. or a snarl.. just a yawn and stretch as I curl into my Laptop… 🙂 Hope you have a Grrrrreat Weekend Wolfie love and Dreamy wishes for a relaxing weekend xx

    • Always good to have unannounced and dreamy friends dropping in! There’s a large leg of Elk over there in the corner of the blog page…fresh from today’s hunt 🙂 Feel free to help yourself!! Have a howwwwWWWWWWWWLLLLLLLingly wonderful weekend! x 😉

  11. *Ki Lin Update! And new pic added! 🙂 *

  12. Thank you for steering me towards this updated version of your posting
    Icywolfy and I do believe that you have added a third graphic? 🙂 Well if
    not I really do like this posting my great friend 🙂 😉

    I will have to search for
    some of these Dragons
    for you… Be good now 🙂

    Androgoth XXx

    • Yes you are absolutely right on this occasion Mr Goth 😉 There is a third pic, though they are not easy to come by…people seem to be under the mistaken illusion that the Ki Lin is simply the Chinese name for the traditional Unicorn, rather than as it actually is, a separate mythological entity. This leads to endless supplies of traditional Unicorn pics mixed in with the odd few true Ki Lin ones 🙂

  13. Believing uinicorn tales, many Chinese mother-to-be posted pictures of the ki-lin on their walls, hoping their sons too would be great. The Chinese gods who distributed babies were often portrayed riding on the backs of ki-lins.

    • Hi Rebecca! Thanks for your visit and your interesting and well-informed comment 🙂 You are always very welcome here, and I always welcome enlightening and educational comments that I have the good fortune to have come my way, especially when I myself have been able to dig up only bare minimal material on the subject!:)

  14. Pingback: Journalism Junkie

  15. I have problems with my eyes, and I just want to say that I found it extremely difficult to read due to the coloring. In fact, I could not read most of it . 😦

    • Hi Janice thank you for your visit and I am very sorry it was not a favourable experience. You are not the first person to comment on this issue and I had hopes to have resolved it by now but alas it is not so. These are older posts that were created on a different background. I am still hunting a more reader friendly background but I think it will be necessary to re – blog these older posts on a more suitable background as it will be almost impossible to rearrange the originals successfully. Once again my sincere apologies. I will endeavour to fix this issue and I hope it won’t put you off another visit at a later date. You are valued and your visits welcome and appreciated.

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