A qilin, also spelled kylin and qilin (麒麟 pinyin: qi2 lin2; Cantonese: kay-lun), is a mythical horned Chinese deer-like creature that is said to appear only when a sage has appeared. It is a good omen that brings Rui4 (瑞 roughly translated to serenity and prosperity). It is often depicted with what looks like fire all over its body. In most drawings, its head looks like that of a Chinese dragon. The qilin is sometimes translated as unicorn in English, because it is superficially similar to the unicorn in being a hooved imaginary beast having a single horn on its head. It was also the animal of the ancient emperor Yao's minister of justice, Gao Yao. The Qilin could recognise whether a person was guilty or not.
Although it looks fearsome, the Qilin only punishes the sinners; when it walked on grass, it could not trample it. Being a peaceful creature, its diet did not include flesh.
Kirin is also an older spelling variant for the Chinese province of Jilin (吉林 pinyin ji2 lin2). NE China in E Manchuria, capital Changchun, area 72,201 square miles (187,723 square kilometers), population 24,658,721.