Last Thursday, the internet was a buzz when North Korea’s government mouthpiece KCNA (Korean Central News Agency) said that scientists had discovered and “reconfirmed” the burial site of Kirin, the unicorn ridden by King Dongmyeong, founding father of the Korean kingdom of Goguryeo (37 BC – 668 AD) and the grave was said to be rediscovered in the city of Pyongyang with the words Unicorn Lair engraved on a rock.
“The discovery proves that Pyongyang was a capital city of Ancient Korea as well as Koguryo (Goguryeo) Kingdom.” – Jo Hui Sung, director of the History Institute of the National Academy of Sciences.
Fast forward a couple of days and now they’re saying “Uh, we said we found the PLACE but we’re not saying they found IT…”
Kiringul photo from 2009
While the N. Korean government says they’ve found Kiringul (or “Kirin’s Grotto” which was reported in 2011 but photos had surfaced as early as 2009) they haven’t found any evidence to prove the unicorn’s physical existence.
According to Wikipedia, Qilin (pronounced Kirin in Korean) is a “mythical hooved Chinese chimerical creature creature known throughout various East Asian cultures, and is said to appear with the imminent arrival or passing of a wise sage or an illustrious ruler,” and is “sometimes misleadingly called the “Chinese unicorn” due to conflation (similar characteristics) with the unicorn by Westerners.”
Wiki goes on to say that in Korean mythology, “The Kirin is described as a maned creature with the torso of a deer, an ox tail with the hooves of a horse. The Qilin in Korean art were initially depicted as more deer-like, however over time they have transformed into more horse-like. They were one of the four divine creatures (사영수,四靈獸) along with the dragon, phoenix and turtle. Kirin were extensively used in Korean royal and buddhist arts.”
Kirin as portrayed in Magic: The Gathering
Sounds pretty friggin awesome, right? So how come N. Korea is now backtracking on their earlier claim they found one?
Some say that this is just N. Korea’s way of telling S.Korea (and the rest of the world) “We rule, we were here first, we have the TRUE capital city of Korea; NOT Seoul.” while others (myself included) that it’s possibly a revenge shot for The Onion article that was published mid-November naming Kim Jong-Il’s son and successor Kim Jong-Un “Sexiest Man Alive”(which China’s Commmunist party newspaper, The People’s Daily, totally fell for). And, in my IMHO, if they really DID find Kirin, they’d totes rub it in our faces on a GLOBAL scale.
But then again, we ARE talking about a place whose late leader told tales taller than he was including how he invented the hamburger, wrote 1,500 books while in college and shot 11 holes-in-one his first time out playing golf…so tall tales tailored to fit are not beyond the norm in N. Korea.
True or not, we as a whole will continue to believe unicorns exist because throughout history we’ve regarded them as a symbol of purity and grace with amazing healing powers and abilities stored within their horn.
I mean, geez, they’re even mentioned in several bible passages!
In my heart of hearts, Kirin and unicorns exist because why else would Adventure Time’s Lady Rainicorn speak Korean?
Unicorns exist and I don’t care WHAT anyone says…mostly because I want my OWN Lady Rainicorn.
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