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The Unicorn Purifies Water


Hillary Smith
by The Metropolitan Museum of Art
published on 21 October 2020
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"The Unicorn Purifies Water" is one of seven tapestries in the "Unicorn Tapestries" group. These allegorical tapestries depict the hunting of a unicorn, a mythological animal common to European folklore. "The Unicorn Purifies Water" is a great example of the healing powers attributed to the unicorn’s horn. The unicorn is surrounded by plants used in medieval times as antidotes to poison, such as sage and pot marigold. All the while, the unicorn is unknowingly being watched by the group of hunters.

The tapestries originally belonged the Le Rochefoucald family of France, and the earliest record of them confirms that they were hanging in the Paris home of François VI de La Rochefoucauld (1613 - 1680 CE) by 1680 CE. The tapestries are thought to have been woven in Brussels, although they were designed in Paris, France.

The Unicorn Tapestries are now held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and are housed in the Met Cloisters.

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Cite This Work

APA Style

Art, T. M. M. o. (2020, October 21). The Unicorn Purifies Water. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Art, The Metropolitan Museum of. "The Unicorn Purifies Water." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified October 21, 2020.

MLA Style

Art, The Metropolitan Museum of. "The Unicorn Purifies Water." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 21 Oct 2020. Web. 12 Apr 2021.

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