Landscape Design in the Middle Ages » The Unicorn in Captivity (detail)

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The Unicorn in Captivity (detail)

The Unicorn in Captivity (detail), 1495–1505
South Netherlandish
Wool warp, wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts; Overall: 12 ft. 7/8 in. x 99 in. (368 x 251.5 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of John D. Rockefeller Jr., 1937 (37.80.6)
See the Collection Database to learn more about this work of art.

The Unicorn is shown enclosed by a fence and chained to a pomegranate tree. Pomegranates were a sign of fertility; the juice dripping onto the unicorn may symbolize fecundity. There are other plants here that represent fruitfulness and were even used as fertility aids in the medieval ages: wild orchid, bistort, and thistle.

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