Monday, 24 November 2008

Recreation of medieval tapestry unveiled at Stirling Castle

by Kathryn Hadley

The tapestry entitled The Unicorn is Found was unveiled in Stirling Castle on Friday November 21st. It is the largest of a series of seven tapestries, which are being hand woven as part of project undertaken by Historic Scotland to recreate one of the world’s finest set of medieval tapestries.
Inventories from 1539 have revealed that the Scottish Royal Collection in the sixteenth century included a set of tapestries entitled ‘the historie of the unicorne’. The tapestries are being copied from a similar set from the Lower Countries which date from 1495 to 1505 on display in the Cloisters Museum at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The total of seven tapestries in the series entitled The Hunt of the Unicorn depict the hunt, killing and return to life of a unicorn to in order to obtain its horn which allegedly had magical powers of purification. The Unicorn is Found depicts the crucial moment when the hunters discovered their prey.

The tapestries each measure 3.3m by up to 3.8m and take between two and a half to four and a half years to make. The first tapestry was begun in 2001 and it is expected that the last will be completed in 2013. The series will thereafter be displayed on the walls of the Queens’ Inner Hall in Stirling Castle where Marie de Guise, the second wife of James V of Scotland and mother of Mary Queen of Scots, held court.

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