The Cluny Museum in Paris, also known as the National Museum of Medieval Arts, is home to many examples of magnificent medieval tapestries, including the famous Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries a set of six tapestries create in the Middle Ages and known world wide for their beauty. The Cluny Museum is also home to tapestries and weavings from many different countries including Iran, Egypt, Italy, Spain, and Great Britain. There are a variety of different decoration styles as well as production types and while all of the Museums tapestries are beautiful, the Lady and the Unicorn series is by far the most popular.
The Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries were discovered in 1841 in the Chateau de Boussac and thanks to the writings of George Sand immediately gained entrance into history. The municipality of Boussac had purchased the Chateau and all of its contents in 1837 but it was not until 1841 that the tapestries were discovered. In 1882 the tapestries were presented to the Cluny Museum by the French government. The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries were woven around 1460 probably in Tournai for the Lord of Fresne.
There are six tapestries in total belonging to the set and they are all displayed side by side in a room specially designed to house them. The Tapestries are said to represent the five human senses with the sixth tapestry representing understanding, intuition, or the sixth sense. Unicorns were popular subjects of Tapestries in the Middle Ages as they represented chastity and holiness.
The tapestry that represents tasting features a maiden holding a parakeet in her left hand while surrounded by a lion and a unicorn. The Maiden is taking something from a chest of drawers which is handed to her by her servant. There is also a dog in the picture that is eating from the floor. The tapestry that represents sight features a unicorn kneeling on the legs of the maiden and gazing into a mirror which the maiden holds. The tapestry of touch depicts the maiden caressing the unicorn while holding a squadron banner. The tapestry that represents smell shows the lady making a flower crown while behind her a monkey sniffs a scented rose. The tapestry of hearing shows the maiden playing an organ with the lion and unicorn appearing as decorations on either side of the organ.
The sixth tapestry, the one of understanding, is the hardest to interpret. Some believe it represents intuition of the sixth sense, and many scholars still debate whether it is the introduction of conclusion to the series. It depicts the maiden in front of a tent with the inscription “A Mon Seul Desir” meaning To My Sole Desire, while placing a collier in a box held by her servant.
The Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries are world famous for their size and beauty, and although their meaning is always open to interpretation there is no denying the skill and intricacy that went into creating them. The Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries were created by hand in a time before looms and undoubtedly took hundreds of hours to create.
Each and every one of the images used on this site has been duly authorized
and licensed by each of the artists represented here by contract.
Our patterns are strictly for personal use only,kitting and reselling them in any form can be consider copyright infringment.
You may also, not upload our patterns to any clubs, groups, or web sites!
Copyright © 2003-2013 Heaven and Earth Designs. Powered by Zen Cart. Designed by Kira Butler, Elixireleven | Design + Foundry.