The Haechi is a mythical animal referred to in the Yimulji (異物紙, Korean pronunciation), an ancient Chinese book on mythical creatures. It is described as a beast with a single horn that lives on the remote edge of the northeast region. It is said to have a righteous temperament, attacking with its horn those who foment conflict. Koreans believed the Haechi to be a highly moral animal, and they were considered guardians against fire and other natural disasters. Haechi sculptures made by the master stonemason Lee Se-wook were placed in Gyeongbokgung Palace during its construction to protect it from the strong “fire” energy emitted by Gwanaksan Mountain. This mystical animal was widely held to be a guardian against fire and other negative forms of energy, as well as a bringer of happiness and good fortune.
Grounds Ordinance of Seoul Metropolitan City’s Symbol, Article 3 – 3, Icon