The Metropolitan Museum of Art, gift of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., The Cloisters Collection, 1937

“Unicorn in Captivity.” The perfection and extravagant fancy of this rich tapestry scene epitomize the unicorn’s place in medieval folklore as a unique imaginary creature who alone, of all animals, dares to attack an elephant yet is so pure that, at the sight of a virgin, will fall at her feet and become docile.

This magnificent tapestry is one of a series of seven called The Hunt of the Unicorn. The first six tapestries show the unicorn being hunted and killed. In this last tapestry, he is alive again, indestructible, and happily tethered to a tree bearing pomegranates. Designed in about 1500, the late Middle Ages, and woven of silk, wool, silver and silver gilt threads, this work stands 12 feet high and more than 8 feet across.