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Unicorns at the Fountain

Date:
16th century
Culture:
Italian
Medium:
Linen and silk
Dimensions:
Overall: 2 3/4 x 19 1/8 in. (7 x 48.6 cm)
Classification:
Textiles-Woven
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Frederic B. Pratt, 1922
Accession Number:
22.106
Not on view
Among the special powers attributed to the unicorn is its ability to purify water. How appropriate, therefore, that on this delicately woven and colored band, the magical beasts appear in pairs repeatedly at either side of a fountain, gently dipping their horns into the cascading water.

One of the hangings in The Cloisters’ Unicorn Tapestries Room shows the unicorn similarly posed. There, animals gather from far and wide to drink, despite the ominous presence of hunters.
Mrs. Frederic B. Pratt (until 1922; to MMA)
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