Tianyimen Gold-Coating Chi-Lin – 漢來大飯店 (The Grand Hi Lai Hotel)

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The Chi-Lin (a fabulous animal appearing only in times of peace and prosperity) statues are treasures of the area of Grand Hi-Lai Hotel as well as a spiritual symbol for the hotel. The statues are made by copying the statues of a mythical animal in front of Tianyimen in the Forbidden City. The statues are also coated with gold. The mythical animal called Shiehzhih is a loyal divine beast which is, in legend, supposed to be good at telling right from the wrong and also making remarkable judgments. The royal garden located in the north of the Forbidden City is the Imperial Garden which offers an area for emperors, empresses and concubines to stroll around every day. Gold-coating technique: a mixture of gold and mercury is coated on the surface of bronze utensils. Then, the objects are heated in order to let mercury sublimat. Gold can adhere to the utensils’ surface and cannot fall off. This technique is like the modern gold-plating method. The technique had actually appeared during the Epoch of Spring and Autumn (770-403 B.C.) and the Epoch of Warring States (403-221 B.C.)  In the Chi-Lin statues, their bodies and four limbs are covere with helmets and armour. Having wide-open noses and mouths, they had ferocious eye contact. They are decorated with the patterns of numerous Chinese characters (wan) each of which has a flowery rhomboid shape. The rest of the patterns are reliefs of numerous cloud shapes. These paterns are repeatedly and continously presented by the use of varieties of concave and convex. Thus, these above elements make the statues look dignified and magnificent.

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