- nature will defend - Picture

In Japan, the kirin is often regarded as the most powerful mythical creature. In China, the qirin (also spelled ch’i-lin) is the third most powerful (it used to hold top spot, but in modern times has been outranked by the dragon and phoenix). Its mythology originated in China but quickly spread east to the rest of the Asian countries. Its first historical appearance is in the book Zuo Zhuan in the 5th century B.C.

It is said to be a dragon in the shape of a deer - or alternatively an early representation of a tiger - that brings serenity to those in its presence and appears when a great sage or ruler is born or succumbs to death. It walks with such grace it bends not even a single blade of grass and fails to breach the surface of the water, yet the fur on its body shines and sways as if it will engulf all it touches with fire. It is peaceful and refuses to eat meat, becoming one of the only major vegetarian mythological creatures. But one must not ever forget they are untamed beasts and will defend themselves if threatened. They are often depicted holding thunder as a powerful ally or with fire cascading from their mouths. They will never be spotted in an area of ill intent, and only inhabit the purest of land with the wisest of humans.

Though often confused with the western unicorn, they are not nearly as often seen fighting for righteousness and maintain quiet lives, while the unicorn is fierce and aids warriors in battle. The unicorn is also shown as a horse with a single long, spiraling horn atop its head and the unmixed body of a horse. Though they both represent prosperity, the kirin is much more of a hybrid and is often depicted with the full head of a dragon, antlers of a deer, hooves of a horse, tail of an ox or lion, and scales of a fish. Rarely is it depicted with wings, but this is not unheard of.

During the Ming Dynasty, a Chinese emperor went to Africa and killed two giraffes. Upon arrival home, he claimed they were the mythological qirin (a hoax to become famous for capturing such a rare and illusive creature). This is why today the words girin and kirin (Korean and Japanese names for this creature) double as a word for giraffe. This is where some say its ability to mind nature and gracefulness came – from the giraffe’s long legs and tree-top diet. Another depiction is the kirin as a dragon with the body of a tiger and this may spring forth with the near-extinction of the South China tiger (panthera tigris amoyensis) in China and the very powerful position it held.

I have a strong affinity for kirin, so I thought I’d draw one. ^^ Maybe this will turn into something more for me. It just happens to also compliment Kino’s ‘sona (a kitsune) very well~


▌Medium: Outline Traditional, Color Digital
▌Music: Various bamboo flute songs
▌Characters: Unnamed Kirin (c) ~Rebloom
▌Notes: Stock used!
Inside ear -> [link]
Antlers -> [link]
Short fur -> [link]
Scale color -> [link]
Long fur -> [link]
Fire undertone -> [link]
Background -> [link]

Continue Reading: The Graces