According to legends, it is one of 9 sons of a dragon, which can distinguish between good and evil. It is sometimes included in the list of four noble animals, along with the Chinese dragon, phoenix and tortoise - instead of the tiger.
As a rule this animal is depicted having a few horns, green and blue scaly skin, hooves of a deer, the head of a dragon and a bear's tail. In some aspects it resembles Western unicorns. Like the European unicorn, Chi Lin symbolizes longevity and prosperity. It is believed to live for at least 2000 years.
The Chinese believe that it is always lonely, and appears only during the reign of an outstanding ruler or when a great sage is born or dies; for instance, it was seen shortly before the birth and death of Confucius. It can only be seen by the chosen ones. It is considered a harbinger of happiness.
On his back, Qilin may have babies. Legends state that it brings extraordinary children from heaven. Like the stork in the European tradition, in China it brings a long-awaited heir to the happy parents.
It is also mentioned in connection with some important events in the history of China. For instance, five thousand years ago one Chinese emperor was sitting on the shore near the Yellow River, when he saw Qi Lin. The dirty water of the river turned crystal clear green. Chi Lin stood before the emperor, stomped on a rock three times, and spoke to the emperor in a voice similar to a temple bell. When Qilin turned to leave, the emperor saw magic signs on his back, and copied them. According to legends, this is how the first written language appeared in China.
The mention of this mythical animal goes back to the days of Confucius. Back then, it had a more peaceful appearance. When walking, it did not cause any harm even to insects (like the image of the Lamb in Christian mythology). When stepping on the grass it did not crush it. It fed on magic grasses. It could walk on water and fly. Carved on gravestones, it would protect from evil spirits, as well as accompany the dead to heaven. However, over time it changed its appearance and symbolism - once a symbol of peace and gentleness, it also acquired the features of power and strength.
In Feng Shui, Qi Lin symbolizes long life, celebration, magnificence, joy, wisdom, and famous children. It is a gentle, kind, and benevolent creature. It carries a mystical good omen. This feng shui talisman is believed to help facilitate the success of children. Chi Lin's images or statues can help women who wish to have a child. The main function of this talisman in feng shui is the elimination of negativity, and to attract wealth.
If you want to place this talisman in your home, remember that this charm should face toward the exit. You don't need to activate it; however, it "likes" to listen to folk songs and fairy tales, and this is supposed to make it work harder for its owners.
About the Author
Jakob Jelling runs http://www.fengshuicrazy.com which teaches the ancient art of feng shui. Please visit his website to learn more about Chi Lin.