Each qilin is strongly cast standing four-square on stout legs with gilt hooves and raised head. Each animal has long gilt whiskers, horns, furry eyebrows and beard and bushy tail. The gilt flaring mane forms a detachable cover at the back of the head above the spiky spine. The face is decorated with red squares reserved on a blue ground with bulging eyes, snout-like nose and opened mouth exposing sets of gilt teeth and tongue. The body is colorfully covered with green and turquoise scales.
The qilin, which resembles a stag, is an auspicious symbol of longevity, fertility and wise administration as it only appears during the reign of a benevolent ruler. It is also associated with the Confucian virtue of ren, as it is benevolent to all living creatures. Sometimes the qilin is shown carrying a young boy on its back as it is also believed to be a bringer of illustrious sons, see for example a pair of cloisonné qilin bearing young boy formerly in the T.B. Kitson Collection, sold at Sotheby's London, 7 June 1967, lot 268.
Two fitted hardwood stands. (2)
Weight: ca. 1385 grams each without bases
Dimensions: Length 31 cm each
Condition: Each figure in overall good condition with no major damages, dents or restoration. Light wear throughout consistent with age. Some oxidation, particularly to the gilt bronze parts, one figure with minor cracks to the enamel below eyebrows.
Provenance: Property from an American private collection.
Literature comparison: Compare with a single cloisonné figure of a standing qilin from the Qing Court Collection illustrated in Metal-bodied Enamel Ware, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2002, p. 168, no. 160.
Auction result comparison: Masterpieces of the Enameller's Art from the Mandel Collection. Christies, Hong Kong, 30 May 2012, lot 2916. (for an almost identical pair)
重量：每件不含底座約 1385 克
尺寸：每件長 31 厘米