The Unicorn Defends Himself

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Hillary Smith
by The Metropolitan Museum of Art
published on 21 October 2020
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"The Unicorn Defends Himself" is one of seven tapestries in the "Unicorn Tapestries" group. These allegorical tapestries depict the hunting of a unicorn, a mythological animal common to European folklore. In "The Unicorn Defends Himself," the hunters have closed in on the unicorn. Unicorns were believed to be ferocious animals, nearly impossible to capture. This unicorn has attacked one of the hunters’ greyhounds, and is poised to make its escape.

The tapestries originally belonged the Le Rochefoucald family of France, and the earliest record of them confirms that they were hanging in the Paris home of François VI de La Rochefoucauld (1613 - 1680 CE) by 1680 CE. The tapestries are thought to have been woven in Brussels between 1495 – 1505 CE, although they were designed in Paris, France.

The Unicorn Tapestries are now held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and are housed in the Met Cloisters.

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Cite This Work

APA Style

Art, T. M. M. O. (2020, October 21). The Unicorn Defends Himself. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Art, The M. M. O. "The Unicorn Defends Himself." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified October 21, 2020.

MLA Style

Art, The M. M. O. "The Unicorn Defends Himself." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 21 Oct 2020. Web. 04 Dec 2020.

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