When the word ‘unicorn’ is heard or comes to mind, there are so many people around who summon up a picture of a white horse along with a sleek golden horn protruding from the forehead. They might also imagine it sitting or riding along with a medieval flaxen-haired maiden. However, there are many of us who are not aware of the fact that this mythological beast was not always regarded and portrayed as a serene, beautiful horse like creature. There is more to it them what many of us know about unicorns:
Ki’lin Or Kirin
Kirin from Korea and Japan and Ki’lin from China are very personally related. Kirin was quite a terrifying animal that penalized those who were wicked and it was also said that it would appear when a sage or a ruler was born such as Confucius. It bears close resemblance to a dragon and was regularly drawn with scales and usually had clouds enveloping him.
Ki’lin on the other hand is a combined name of ki- a male unicorn and of lin- a female one. He is drawn as an animal whose body resembles a deer and it has a cow’s tail, while its hooves strongly look like a horse’s hoof.
He is also linked to zhi at times, who is a one-horned goat and lived during the reign of Emperor Shun, the first man to devise the code of law. He also had a wise goat (known as zhi) who was always part of his legal proceedings.
Karkadann which also means the ‘Lord of the Desert’ belongs to the Persian origin and also has quite a strong link with rhinoceros. There are several learned scholars who describe it as Al-Biruni, who was Uzbekistan’s native. It was a powerfully strong animal and its built was quite much like a buffalo. Its horn would slant towards the upward direction while it did vary in shape. Al-Qazwini who was a Persian scholar as well as a physician also claimed that its horn had healing powers and was a way of curing epilepsy, lameness and several other kinds of disease and ailments. Few of the scholars and writers even claimed that the animal’s horn would start sweating in case there was any form of poison around.
One interesting point to note here is, elephant was its enemy while the only thing that could help to sooth and calm its temperament down was the ringdove’s song.
One-Horned Wild Ass
Darius II addressed unicorn as Ctesias and he was a Greek physician who visited Persia in 416 BC as he was appointed as the physician of the court. During those times when he would travel to India and Persia, he had described an animal with a brown head, it had very intense blue eyes and a white body. It had one horn which was purely white while it had a glowing crimson point. He claimed that its horn did possess the magic of removing all kinds of poisons while the finely ground powder coming from its crown was useful for healing epilepsy and convulsion.