Check out some pictures of these fantastic creatures:
Now you may be realizing that although WoW's quilin shares a name, its model doesn't really look like a mixup between dragon, deer, and lion. It looks more like the Chinese guardian lions (shishi, "stone lion"). Sometimes called Foo Dogs, these lions are always created in pairs. The male rests his paw on the sphere of the world, and the female has a playful cub on her back (isn't that always the way??).
The shishi were brought to Japan via Korea and are known as komainu. There are a few types, most notably - and my personal favorite - are the a-un komainu. These paired statues are nearly identical, except that one has its mouth open, pronouncing the beginning of the Sanskrit alphabet "a," and the other has its mouth closed, pronouncing the final letter "um." In Japanese this pair becomes a-un.
In Okinawa these pairs are called shisa, which is, according to wikipedia, a shortening of shishi-san. Shinto shrines may feature other paired guardian creatures like foxes, boars, and tigers.
Why did I tell you all that? Not to teach you, oh no. You see, I really love these lions. I am definitely getting the Mists ~Deluxe~ version if it means I get to have a momma mount and a baby pet. Whenever I see a-un lions out and about, I try to take a picture of each one. And now you have to look at them all!
|outside Gyeongbukgung in Seoul|
|somewhere in Hong Kong|
|outside an Okinawan restaurant in Kyoto|
|at Itsukushima Shrine|
|somewhere on Miyajima|
|somewhere along the Philosopher's Path|
|also Philosopher's Path in Kyoto|
|Philosopher's Path again|
|somewhere in the middle of nowhere, Hyogo|
|also in Hyogo|
|my friend's display from Okinawa|
|near one of my kindergartens|
|somewhere in Kyoto|
|in Nara Park|
|found while shopping in Seoul|
|a gift from a friend who went to Okinawa|
|my friend's set from Okinawa|