Location: Baton Rouge
This lovely Antique Framed Needlepoint Tapestry is a recreation, the original entitled The Lady and the Unicorn (French: La Dame à la licorne), which is the modern title given to a series of six tapestries woven in Flanders of wool and silk, from designs ("cartoons") drawn in Paris in the late fifteenth century. The suite, on display in the Musée du Moyen-Âge, is often considered one of the greatest works of art of the Middle Ages in Europe.
Five of the tapestries are commonly interpreted as depicting the five senses – taste, hearing, sight, smell, and touch. The sixth displays the words "À mon seul désir". The tapestry's meaning is obscure, but has been interpreted as representing love or understanding. Each of the six tapestries depicts a noble lady with the unicorn on her left and a lion on her right; some include a monkey in the scene. The pennants, as well as the armour of the Unicorn and Lion in the tapestry bear the arms of the sponsor, Jean Le Viste, a powerful nobleman in the court of King Charles VII. However, a very recent study of the heraldry appears to lend credence to another hypothesis - previously dismissed - that the real sponsor of the tapestry is Antoine II Le Viste (1470-1534), a descendant of the younger branch of the Le Viste family and an important figure at the court of Charles VIII, Louis XII and François I.
The tapestries are created in the style of mille-fleurs (meaning: "thousand flowers").
The tapestries were rediscovered in 1841 by Prosper Mérimée in Boussac castle (owned at the time by the subprefect of the Creuse) where they had been suffering damage from their storage conditions. Novelist George Sand brought public attention to the tapestries in her works at the time. The cycle is currently held in the Musée de Cluny (Musée du Moyen-Âge), Paris (France), where it has resided since 1882.
Measures 32H x 43.5W