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Qilin by KatePfeilschiefter Qilin by KatePfeilschiefter
My take on a Qilin, doodled during a class.

Qilin (chinese) or Kirin (Japanese) is an oriental chimerical creature described as having the horns of a stag, tail and hooves of an ox, head of a dragon and scales of a carp. They're supposed to be omens of good, and have often been misleadingly called Chinese Unicorns, despite their ancient depictions resembling a hooved dragon more than any herbivore. They also posses a pair of antlers, rather than a single spiral horn.

I like the Chinese idea of them being more draconic than the Japanese version, in which they're more deer-like. But either way they have dragon heads and carnivorous teeth. The depiction of them with deer or horse heads is a recent invention.

Anyway, I drew this guy with the idea that they're omnivorous cousins of the oriental dragons. There are so many various body-builds amongst westerns, it's interesting to find an eastern correlation.

Wikipedia Qilin article: [link]

As always, critique is always welcome and helpful.
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LuminousSpirit1996 Featured By Owner May 13, 2018
Great work!  Love the color and posture!
dorogan17 Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2017
its posture reminds me of the deinonychus in Jurassic park. especially the claws.
Spike-Washington Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I once did my own Qilin and it had a single, branched antler-horn in the middle of its head. I did it in colored pencil and some of the people who saw it said the drawing looked like an Ancient Chinese illustration. I did not do the clove hooves since it was an upper-body version of the creature. But I gave it a flaming mane and fierce eyes. 
Nathan2000 Featured By Owner Edited Mar 23, 2016
"The depiction of them with deer or horse heads is a recent invention."

I'd say it's the opposite. The oldest Chinese sources (Erya and Shuowen Jiezi) say qilin looks like a deer with the tail of an ox and a single horn. In Zuo Zhuan people mistook it for a muntjac. Only later art portrays it resembling a dragon and frankly, Chinese decorative art makes everything look like a dragon.

Oh, and look at the Chinese name in the top left corner. The radical -- part that governs the meaning of the word -- in both characters is 鹿, which means "deer".
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner May 23, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
I'm referring specifically to the depictions in ancient Chinese art and sculpture, which as you said does tend to make everything (even real world animals) look vaguely dragon-ish. In writing, they are described as having deer characteristics, but in their artwork the dragon aspects dominate. 
Joanna1993 Featured By Owner Edited Nov 14, 2015
Dragons are Native to Eastern China.
IllusionQueen Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2015
So pretty! I also prefer Qilin over Kirin, since Qilin are more dragon-like and Kirin are more deer-like. I can never understand why people would call them Unicorns... Even the single-horned ones don't look anything like Unicorns -_-

I love the ancient Chinese paper background as well :)
Satin-Bowerbird Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Awesome! :D I love the vivid colors especially compared to the old-paper textured background.
Fyreflysky Featured By Owner May 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh wow.  I printed this image off google when I was researching the Kilin for a university project.  I'm glad I found it again.
MantaDrifter Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014
Great. How did you colour it? It looks like a professional tattoo.
RukahTsubasa Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2013
beautiful work! i love the details and pose!
BakedBananaBeans Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2012  Student General Artist
cpomall Featured By Owner May 23, 2012
sorta like an oriental, ungulate drake.
ChojinRyu750 Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
cool :)
Tessna13 Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is something I would willingly get as a tatoo...beautiful.
Melanorosaurus Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Tyfga Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2011
This is AWESOME!!!!! :)
uncle91 Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2011
Very cool!
EarthCookies Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
This looks absolutley wonderful! Your art is always so beautiful :)
DragonOfTheStars Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2011
woah, that's too freakishly awsome
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Submitted on
March 20, 2011
Image Size
5.4 MB


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