Silk and metallic thread embroidery on silk satin and float-patterned plain-weave silk
Overall (a): 2 3/4 x 1 1/2 in. (7 x 3.8 cm)
Overall (b): 10 x 4 in. (25.4 x 10.2 cm)
Gift of Florance Waterbury, 1967
Not on view
This embroidered toy features a man riding a qilin, a fantastic animal commonly found in the decorative arts of the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing dynasties. Although its appearance can vary, the qilin seen here combines the features of a dragon (head, horns, and scales), a fantastical lion (tail), and a deer (body and hooves). Various auspicious items hang from the qilin, among them (from the left) scrolls, a sycee (silver ingot), books, and a handheld decorative accessory called a ruyi. The detachable rider holds a sheng, a type of mouth organ.