Incense BurnerArtist(s)Object Creation DateMing dynasty (16th century)Medium & Supportstoneware with glazeDimensions
6 5/8 in. (16.83 cm)Credit LinePromised gift of William C. Weese, M.D., LSA ‘65Subject matter
Qilin, Wade-Giles ch't-lin, in Chinese mythology, the unicorn whose rare appearance often coincides with the imminent birth or death of a sage or illustrious ruler. (The name is a combination of the two characters qi
“male,” and lin
, “female.”) A qilin
has a single horn on its forehead, a yellow belly, a multicoloured back, the body of a deer, and the tail of an ox. Gentle of disposition, it never walks on verdant grass or eats living vegetation.
The first qilin
is said to have appeared in the garden of the legendary Huangdi (Yellow Emperor) in 2697 BCE. Some three centuries later a pair of qilin
were reported in the capital of Emperor Yao. Both events bore testimony to the benevolent nature of the rulers.
Celadon incense burner in the shape of Qilin with a removable top.Primary Object ClassificationCeramicCollection AreaAsianRights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image
for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.