Turning to the Chinese classics and books of antiquity, we find references, sometimes vague and mythical, sometimes exact, to several distinct unicorn animals. These may be enumerated as:—
f 1. The Ki-Lin, represented in Japan by the Kirin.
2. The King.
3. The Kioh Twan.
5. The Hiai Chai.
6. The Too Jon Sheu.
Besides these there are clear descriptions of the rhinoceros, which cannot in any way be confounded with the above. The only one of these popularly familiar is the Ki-Lin, the history of which is interwoven with that of remote ages. The first mention of it is made in the Bamboo Books—only in that part, however, of them which is apparently a commentary, note, or subsequent addition, though some authorities hold it to be a portion of the actual text. The work states that, during the reign of Hwang-Ti (b.c. 2697), Ki-Lins appeared in the parks.
Their appearance was generally supposed to signalise the reign of an upright monarch, and Confucius considered that the appearance of one during his epoch was a bad omen, as it did not harmonise with the troubled state of the times. The name Ki-Lin is a generic or dual word, composed of those of the Ki and the Lin, the respective male and female of the creature.
the Ki-lin. (After a modern Chinese painting.)
This peculiar species of word formation is adopted in other instances in reference to birds and animals; thus we have the male Fung and the female Hwang united in the Fung Hwang, or so-called Chinese phoenix, and the Yuen and Yang in the Yuen Yang, or mandarin duck.
Sometimes the word Lin alone is used with the same generic meaning.
The 'Rh Ya, in the original text, defines the Lin as having a Kiun's body (the Kiun is a kind of muntjack or deer), an ox's tail, and one horn. The commentary states that the tip of the horn is fleshy, and that the King Yang chapter of the " Spring and Autumn Annals " of Confucius defines it as a horned Kiun.
Title: Mythical monsters. Author: Charles Gould. Publisher: W.H. Allen & Co., 1886. Original from: Library of Catalonia. Digitized: Oct 31, 2008. Length: 407 pages. Subjects: Animals, Animals fabulosos.
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TEXT and IMAGE CREDIT: Mythical monsters