The Hunt of the Unicorn

The Hunt Of The Unicorn

The Hunt of the Unicorn

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The Hunt of the Unicorn, often referred to as the Unicorn Tapestries, is a series of seven tapestries dating from 1495–1505. The tapestries show a group of noblemen and hunters in pursuit of a unicorn. It is believed the tapestries were made in the Southern Netherlands.


The tapestries were woven in wool, metallic threads, and silk. The vibrant colors still evident today were produced with three dye plants: weld (yellow), madder (red), and woad (blue).

History and interpretation

Much of the tapestries' history is disputed and there are many theories about their original purpose and meaning, including suggestions that the seven tapestries were not originally hung together. However it seems likely that they were commissioned by Anne of Brittany to celebrate her marriage to Louis XII, King of France.

The two major interpretations of the tapestries hinge on pagan and Christian symbolism. The pagan interpretation focuses on the medieval lore of beguiled lovers, whereas Christian writings interpret the unicorn and its death as the Passion of Christ. The unicorn has long been identified as a symbol of Christ by Christian writers, allowing the traditionally pagan symbolism of the unicorn to become acceptable within religious doctrine. The original myths surrounding The Hunt of the Unicorn refer to a beast with one horn that can only be tamed by a...
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