Henan Museum
Constructional Component Tri-colored Qilin
Edit: acf
Time: 2023-06-25 17:51:15
Period: Ming dynasty (1368-1644)
Provenance: Qianfo Hall of Shaolin Temple in 1980
Measurements: L. 59 cm, H. 58 cm

Period: Ming dynasty (1368-1644)
Dimensions:L. 59 cm, H. 58 cm
Provenance: Qianfo Hall of Shaolin Temple in 1980

The qilin, serving as a chuishou (lit.suspending animal), was created in a recumbent posture, with its front paws suspending, whilst the hind legs in a prancing position, eyes open wide, and it is fully covered by scales, under its body is wavy designs, displaying visible three-dimensional effect. The object was elaborately made, with simple but graceful glaze.

Chuishou, also known as Qiangshou (lit.pinning animal), was the animal-shaped construction component in ancient China, and was placed behind the zunshou (lit.squatting animal). With iron nail inside, chuishou was used to secure the tiles from falling off the ridge, so as to fasten the juncture of the ridges.

Upon the imperial edict of Emperor Wen of Northern Wei dynasty, Shaolin Temple was originally constructed in the nineteenth year of Taihe reign period, for the purpose to   accommodate the eminent India monks, and  it underwent successive construction programs in the ensuing dynasties. It was an important Buddhist premises in the Central Plains of China, that’s why the chuishou, which was normally seen on the exclusive ancient official buildings of China, could be found in Shaolin temple.