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The Unicorn is in Captivity and No Longer Dead

Anonymous, ca. 1500

Image Size
Paper Type
Premium fine art paper: 100% cotton, acid-free, archival
Frame Type
Museum quality Giclée print
Premium fine art paper, 100% cotton, acid-free, archival
1" border
Image Size: 8.3" x 12" – Total Size: 10.3" x 14"
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The seventh and final scene from the "Unicorn Tapestries", one of the most spectacular but enigmatic surviving artworks of the late Middle Ages. Depicting a unicorn hunt, in the penultimate tapestry in the series the unicorn is eventually killed. In this last, however, the unicorn is shown alive and well, and entirely tamed. He is fenced in and chained to a tree, but the chain is less than secure and the fence is low. He has submitted to his captivity. The red stains on his flank, in the words of the Met’s catalog, “do not appear to be blood, as there are no visible wounds like those in the hunting series; rather, they represent juice dripping from bursting pomegranates” — a medieval symbol of marriage and fertility. In the resurrection element there is also a clear parallel with the story of Jesus. (Image source: The Metropolitan Museum)