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Travels of a consular officer in Eastern TibetEdit

English originalEdit

The Tibetan antelope (Tsura or Chiru) is common in the elevated grass country north of Jyekundo, that is to say, on higher parts of the Tibetan plateau country than are usually met with in Kam. It has long black horns rising nearly straight from the head; these horns are much used as shooting rests by the Tibetans, who affix them to their guns and rifles. It is probably this animal which gave rise to the story of the unicorn in Eastern Tibet, the appearance of the head and horns seen in profile being exactly that of a unicorn. At Dzogchen, while looking over a heap of old horns, probably collected for export to China, I picked up a single straight black horn, and on asking to what kind of an animal it belonged, was told a unicorn. The horn was, however, undoubtedly that of the ordinary Tibetan antelope.

Huc, whose work is in most respects so very accurate, states that "the unicorn, which has long been regarded as a fabulous creature, really exists in Tibet." He devotes two or three pages to the subject, and first calls it a serou and then a tchirou, probably mixing up with serow with the chiru, or Tibetan antelope. His description of the horn is that of the latter animal.

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