The Unicorn Crosses a Stream (from the Unicorn Tapestries)

French (cartoon)/South Netherlandish (woven)

On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 17

According to tradition, the unicorn cannot be disturbed while performing a magical act. The attack by the hunters thus presumably begins soon after the action depicted in The Unicorn Is Found, and the scene is one filled with chaos and commotion. The ferocity of the battle is conveyed by the converging lances aimed at the animal, the sounding of the hunting horns, and the menacing hounds. Already wounded on his back, the unicorn leaps across a stream in a desperate attempt to escape his encircling enemies.

The use of hounds to scout, chase, and eventually attack the quarry was typical practice in medieval stag hunts, and the palatial buildings in the background might be a further allusion to the hunt as a royal or aristocratic pastime. Unlike The Hunters Enter the Woods and The Unicorn in Captivity, this and the other hangings are set in realistic landscapes that enhance the drama of the hunt.

#65. The Unicorn Is Attacked (from the Unicorn Tapestries)

The Unicorn Crosses a Stream (from the Unicorn Tapestries), Wool warp with wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts, French (cartoon)/South Netherlandish (woven)

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