KILIN, or CH'-I-LIN, one of the four symbolical creatures which in Chinese mythology are believed to keep watch and ward over the Celestial Empire. It is a unicorn, portrayed in Chinese art as having the body and legs of a deer and an ox's tail. Its advent on earth heralds an age of enlightened government and civic prosperity. It is regarded as the noblest of the animal creation and as the incarnation of fire, water, wood, metal and earth. It lives for a thousand years, and is believed to step so softly as to leave no footprints and to crush no living thing.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)