Tuesday, November 8, 2011

UNICORN TAPESTRIES

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Embroidery and crewelwork on garments always puts me in mind of medieval tapestries, such as the well-known Unicorn Tapestries of the Late Middle Ages.

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The set of seven tapestries is of South Netherlandish origin, and is made of wool warp with wool, silk, silver, and gilt (or gold) wefts.

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The tapestries, depicting the hunt and capture of the mythological unicorn, manifest themes of fertility and marriage, as well as the Passion of the Christ.

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There are also many symbolic characteristics, ranging from the over 100 species of plants depicted, to the number of figures and colors used.

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In Medieval times, the unicorn was a symbol of invincibility, often representing Christ, and the horn was believed to have healing properties. This belief extended to the horn of the narwhal, which was a highly sought-after object.

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Dating from around 1495 to 1505, the set remains in remarkable condition and resides in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection at The Cloisters.

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I'm wearing a J. Crew cashmere sweater and pencil skirt and Plenty by Tracy Reese embroidered jacket, all thrifted from the same Goodwill, on different days. The boots are the Frye Veronica, the leather purse is vintage, and the necklace is from Anthropologie.


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[Unicorn Tapestry images from metmuseum.org.]

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