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Antique Chinese Gilded Cast Iron
Kirin Pair
Origin: Qing, China. Circa: late 19th century
Male: H 17 in.(43cm.) x W 22 in.(56cm.), x D 10 in.(25cm.)
Female: H 17 in.(43cm) x W 22 in.(56cm) x D 10 in.(25cm)
Condition: rust, gilt loss
 

Kirn, also known as Chinese Unicorn, is a mythical creature of good omen. Like dragon, phoenix and tortoise, Kirin is one of the four great mythical animals of China. It is the symbol of grandeur, longevity, wisdom and benevolence. According to legend, Kirin is a reincarnated essence of five elements. They do not consume carrion and drink only morning dew. They are solitary creatures, and appear to mankind only when a king of benevolence is on the throne, or when a sage is about to be born. A Kirin is said to be appeared in the halcyon days of the emperors Yao and Shun (7000-5000 years B.C.), and also seen at a time when the sage Confucius was born (551-479 B.C.). Chinese folklore says that when the mother of Confucius went deep in the mountain to worship the gods, she became pregnant of him by accidentally stepping into the footprints of a Kirin.

Crisp in forms and vigorous in appearances, with head like that of a dragon, and tail of a lion (foo dog), this pair of Kirin are radiating with fire, racing above the rushing waves in a powerful force of character. Despite a slightly rusted surface, this large polychromed pair are made of gilded cast iron and weight over 55 lbs each. Which are well suited as guardians for every home and office.

Private Collection

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