Perhaps rivaling only the Tapestry Cycle in terms of popularity, the Hunt of the Unicorn is a series of 7 pieces depicting the pursuit of the mythic unicorn by a group of noblemen and hunters. More commonly known as the Unicorn tapestries, they date back from 1495 to 1505. Some people believe that the Unicorn tapestries have a royal origin, that they were commissioned by Anne of Brittany in celebration of her marriage to Charles VIII, King of France. There are even theories that the 7 pieces weren’t originally hung together.
At present, the series of tapestries hangs in The Cloisters, the medieval section of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, USA.
Unicorns for Your Home
Interior designers say that you can never go wrong with unicorns when you use them for home decor. Their graceful appearance is the stuff of legends. Various cultures around the world have tales about unicorns and their magical abilities. Many have interpreted the unicorn as a symbol of Jesus Christ, and the hunt, His suffering for mankind.
Artworks become even more magical when they depict humans interacting with these seemingly gentle creatures. And since unicorns are often taken to symbolize divinity, such image is almost akin to contact between man and the gods.
Unicorn tapestries take advantage of this ethereal trait so that you may bring a sense of magic into your home through these wall hangings. But the unicorn—a white horse, with white mane, a solitary horn and gentle demeanor—is but one of the myriad of elements found throughout the 7 tapestries.
For instance, each of the 7 pieces teems with flora indicative of the artist’s fondness of nature. The plants in the Unicorn tapestries are shown in bloom, when they are at their most beautiful. The plants and flowers are alive and sometimes unrealistically colorful. Remember that these unicorn tapestries used to hang on bleak castle walls, so they provided good contrast between the two conflicting elements. For those in the medieval ages, however, these plants also signified something else: the plants were used then for a lot of medicinal purposes. In effect, plants signified life and wellness.
Another prominent element in the unicorn tapestries is the fauna. Of course, central to these is the unicorn itself. In fact, in one piece it is shown surrounded by humans and a multitude of animals: deer with gigantic antlers, hunting dogs, and colorful birds. It is interesting to note that during the medieval times, the presence of such animals served as Christian allegories for moral and religious instructions. In other words, the power of God is depicted via this interaction with nature and all His creations. The challenge to the beholder of the Unicorn tapestries is the unraveling of the meaning behind the symbols used in the artwork.
A Unicorn for Every Room
The versatility of the Unicorn tapestries is its major selling point. The wide array of themes featuring the mystic animal makes it possible to hang these tapestries in virtually every room in the house, unlike specifically themed tapestries that will only work well with one room. Placed directly above a lamp or a candle, these creatures can come alive and make your home a more mythic place. These wall tapestries will dazzle children and adults alike. If you are a unicorn aficionado, you should not miss the opportunity to take this revered classic home.