Compare to another cloisonné figure of a standing qilin, also with a detachable cover on its spine, from the Palace Museum, Beijing which is illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 43 - Metal-bodied Enamel Ware, Hong Kong, 2002, p. 168, pl. 160.
The qilin is an auspicious symbol of longevity, fertility and wise administration, as it only appears during the reign of a benevolent ruler. It is also associated with the Confucian virtue of ren, as it is benevolent to all living creatures. When combined with a boy seated on its back the qilin represents the bringing of illustrious sons.