Two episodes of the hunt narrative are brought together in this hanging. At left, two hunters drive their lances into the neck and chest of the unicorn, as a third delivers the coup de grâce from the back. In some contexts, the unicorn is an allegory for Christ; the large holly tree (often a symbol of Christ's Passion) rising from behind his head may conceivably be linked to this association. In the other episode, at right, a lord and a lady receive the body of the unicorn in front of their castle. They are surrounded by their attendants, with more curious onlookers peering through windows of the turret behind them. The dead animal is slung on the back of a horse, his horn already cut off but still entangled in thorny oak branches—perhaps an allusion to the Crown of Thorns.
#68. The Unicorn Is Killed and Brought to the Castle (from the Unicorn Tapestries)
Comtes de La Rochefoucauld, France ; François VI de La Rochefoucauld, Paris (in 1680) ; François VIII de La Rochefoucauld, château de Verteuil, Charente (in 1728) ; Château de Verteuil (said to have been looted in 1793) ; Comtes de La Rochefoucauld, château de Verteuil, Charente (in 1856) ; Comte Aimery de La Rochefoucauld, château de Verteuil, Charente (until 1923) ; Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller Jr. (in 1923 through Edouard Larcade–until 1937)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Tapestry from the 14th to the 16th century," February 7, 1974–April 19, 1974.