MING DYNASTY 1368 – 1644 Ming Bronze

A Late Ming Gilt-Bronze Censer and Cover in the Form of a Qilin. The Mythical Beasts Head is the Cover for this Ming Censer, the Ferocious Mouth With it`s Large Fangs is Open and Would have Let out the Smoke from the Body of the Censer. The Squat Legs have Powerful Paws with Sharp Claws.


The hinge between the head form cover and the body is broken. Some wear and very minor dents.
Height : 18 cm (7 inches)
Stock number
For a similar Ming gilt-bronze from the collection of Luigi Koelliker see our `Sold Items` number 20435.


Qilin or Kylin.
A Qilin (Kylin) is a mythical hooved Chinese chimerical creature. Despite its fierce demeanour it is a good omen that brings Rui (roughly translated as `serenity` or `prosperity`), longevity, illustrious offspring and wise administration. The scaly body has a dragons head, hooves and can appear to have fire issuing from its body. The male Qilin is called a Qi and the female a Lin. The male often has horns. These creatures carefully tread to avoid all living insects or destroy grass under foot, it is reputed to be able to walk on water as well as land. Qilin only appear to mankind when an emperor of the highest benevolence sits on the throne or when a sage is about to be born. There is a strong argument that the Qilin is a stylised representation of the giraffe. This is because the Qilin is referred to only since the Ming Dynasty. The time of its first reference correspond roughly with the voyages of Zheng He, there were seven voyages between 1405 and 1433 (Zheng He lived c.1371–1435). It is known that on Zheng He`s voyage to East Africa (landing, among other places, in modern-day Kenya), the fleet brought back two giraffes to Beijing. It is also known that these two giraffes were referred to as Qilins. The Emperor proclaimed the giraffes magical creatures, whose capture signalled the greatness of his power.