Sunday, February 5, 2012

Q is for Qirin

This week's entry for AlphaBeasts! is Qirin, better known to beer drinkers by its Japanese spelling, Kirin. 

This beast has many confusing manifestations, both Chinese & Japanese. It is sometimes known as the Chinese Unicorn, although in most depictions it has two horns. Some versions are very close to Longma (with dragon-like head & scales & a horse-like body), some more deer-like, & some like a giraffe. There is speculation that this creature may have been inspired by travelers' descriptions of the giraffe, & in fact, the modern Japanese for "giraffe" is "kirin."

I chose a combination of deer- & giraffe-like elements, along with the traditional flames.

Acrylic on an illustration (~5"x7" ) scanned from St. Nicholas Magazine, July 1920. I love the caption, & it explains golf to me, since the 20% that is visible to outsiders seems unbearably boring. It makes me wonder what on earth all those straight-laced dudes in polo shirts are imagining out there on the links! (Of course the article was actually all about visualizing the shot, but I like my version better.)


  1. I must say that not only do I admire your beautiful paintings, I marvel at how you come up with the beasties' names!

  2. I've never gotten the golf thing either. Cute beastie!

  3. Now we know why some shots go wild on the golf course. I also like that I am learning a lot about beasties from other cultures as well. Thank You.

  4. Very cool. This makes me wonder about how good a look they might have gotten of the wildlife before painting them. Nice job as always! Love the colors.