The Unicorn Tapestries (known also as The Hunt of the Unicorn) is a set of seven tapestries housed today at the Cloisters, in Fort Tryon Park, northern Manhattan, New York. Incidentally, the Cloisters is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and America’s only museum dedicated exclusively to medieval art.
The Unicorn Tapestries is one of the best-known and finest pieces of artwork from the Middle Ages. Apart from its high quality, the Unicorn Tapestries are also an enigmatic pieces of art and which have generated much discussion, especially the origin and symbolism, among scholars for over a century.
The Unicorn Tapestries consists of seven tapestries, each measuring 12 feet (3.66 meters) in height, and up to 14 feet (4.27 meters) in width. One of the tapestries, which is known as The Unicorn is Captured by the Virgin was severely damaged in the past and survives today in two fragments. The six other tapestries are complete and are named as follows: The Start of the Hunt, The Unicorn at the Fountain, The Unicorn Attacked, The Unicorn Defends Itself, The Unicorn is Killed and Brought to the Castle, and The Unicorn in Captivity.
From the name of the tapestry set as a whole, as well as the individual ones, it is clear that the subject of this artwork is a unicorn hunt. For scholars and art historians, the tapestry set does not merely depict a hunt, but is filled with symbolic meaning, more of which will be discussed later on in the article.