The Unicorn Tapestries. 1495-1505, South Netherlands (approx). The seven individual hangings known as “The Unicorn Tapestries,” are among the most beautiful and complex works of art from the late Middle Ages that survive. Luxuriously woven in fine wool and silk with silver and gilded threads, the tapestries vividly depict scenes associated with a hunt for the elusive, magical unicorn. The tapestries are arguably the greatest example of Flemish/Mid-European renaissance needlework.

Historians can’t quite agree on whether the unicorn tapestries were meant to be part of a larger whole tapestry, or created as separate pieces. 

Through history, unicorns have symbolised purity, only able to be lured in by virgins. Sailors often brought back the horns of male narwhals, claiming them to be the horns of slain unicorns, which were said to possess purifying powers. Sometimes, these ‘unicorn horns’ were used domestically to test for poison in food. No doubt, they probably weren’t very effective.

Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Cite Arrow reblogged from shredsandpatches
  1. sodisarming-darling reblogged this from travellinganachronism and added:
    Only a virgin, pure and unsullied, can catch a unicorn, which is also pure.
  2. horrorvacuiplus reblogged this from eumopolus
  3. eumopolus reblogged this from travellinganachronism
  4. hooseporp reblogged this from travellinganachronism
  5. mooonblossom reblogged this from travellinganachronism
  6. newlife-oldsoul reblogged this from travellinganachronism
  7. nascent-1 reblogged this from travellinganachronism
  8. ceciliabaldwin reblogged this from woldswarm
  9. woldswarm reblogged this from polar-bear-princess
  10. rosiethero reblogged this from polar-bear-princess
  11. polar-bear-princess reblogged this from travellinganachronism
  12. deusinanem reblogged this from knockingghosts
  13. alpha-minuz reblogged this from fuckyeahrenaissancehistory
  14. my-eye-love-this reblogged this from knockingghosts
  15. lilicorn reblogged this from knockingghosts
  16. jocosejoni reblogged this from knockingghosts
  17. anoukvdm reblogged this from knockingghosts
  18. glitchmachine reblogged this from knockingghosts
  19. gabegabes reblogged this from invictascientia
  20. geekwithacoldheart reblogged this from invictascientia and added:
    They’re making replicas of this set of tapestries in Stirling Castle, since the Unicorn is the symbol of royalty here,...
  21. invictascientia reblogged this from fuckyeahrenaissancehistory
  22. thepiratejenny reblogged this from mythopoetica