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Old Age Drives the Stag out of a Lake and the Hounds Heat, Grief, Cold, Anxiety, Age, and Heaviness Pursue Him: (from The Hunt of the Frail Stag)

Date:
ca. 1500–1525
Culture:
South Netherlandish
Medium:
Wool warp, wool and silk wefts, embroidered with wool
Dimensions:
Overall: 102 x 137in. (259.1 x 348cm)
Classification:
Textiles-Tapestries
Credit Line:
Bequest of Mary Stillman Harkness, 1950
Accession Number:
50.145.5
Not on view
This tapestry illustrates a poem about human frailty, in which the stag represents Man. Here, Age and her hounds Heat, Grief, Heaviness, Cold, and Anxiety, drive the stag from a lake. A French inscription may be translated:

Then Old Age mounts an all-out assault
That drives him from the lake
And unleashes upon him Pain and Doubt,
Cold and Heat, and thus brings on
Care and Trouble to seize him.
And Age with wrinkled flesh
And Heaviness make him flee
Toward Sickness, the dreaded one.
Inscription: [above dogs]: PESANTEUR, CHAULT, PAINE, FROIT;
[dogs held by Old Age on leash]: SOUSSI, AIGE;
[on panel with red ground in upper right hand corner]:
PUIS LASSAULT VIELLESSE AOULTRANCE - QUI LE FAIT HORS DU LAC SAILLIER/
ET LUI LASCHE PAINE ET DOUBTA[N]CE - FROET ET CHAULT ET SI FAIT VENIR/
SOUSSY LABOUR POUR LE TENIR-ET EAGE A LA CHERE RIDEE/
ET PESANTEUR LE FONT SAINE - VERS MALADIE LA DOUBTEE.
Mary Stillman Harkness
Cavallo, Adolfo S. Medieval Tapestries in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993. no. 32, pp. 458-462.



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