In ancient Chinese culture the appearance of the legendary qi lin was believed to coincide with the imminent birth or death of a great leader.
The creature’s name is a combination of the two characters – qi (male) and lin (female) – and it was therefore considered to signify yin-yang harmony.
The qi lin was portrayed with an equine body covered with the scales of a fish and either antlers or a single horn – the latter responsible for it being referred to as the ‘the Chinese unicorn’. It was often depicted surrounded by fire while also reputed to be able to walk on water.
While the qi lin may look terrifying, it had such a benevolent nature that it never walked on grass or ate living vegetation.
Similarly, the horse-like unicorn, with a single horn projecting from its forehead, has been portrayed since antiquity including the Indus Valley Civilization more than 4,500 years ago.
Derived from the Latin terms uni (single) and cornus (horn), the unicorn was illustrated in Celtic, Medieval and Renaissance European art as a creature of purity and grace. In modern times the fabled creatures are believed by some to have mystical healing powers.
Even though the origins of these auspicious creatures in ancient Eastern and Western folklore are unclear, each lives on in contemporary visual arts, literature and popular culture. The unicorn also represents Scotland in the
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The coin’s reverse depicts exquisitely detailed representations of a qi lin surrounded by a stylised representation of fire and water, and a unicorn. The Chinese characters for ‘qi lin’ and the English word ‘unicorn’ are included in the design.
The Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the monetary denomination, and the 2018 year-date are shown on the coin’s obverse. No more than 1,000 of the Qi Lin and Unicorn 2018 2oz Silver Antiqued Coins
will be released.
Each coin is housed in a classic display case within an illustrated shipper and accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.