Calendar Girl » The Unicorn in Captivity: Calendula

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The Unicorn in Captivity: Calendula

The Unicorn in Captivity, 1495–1505
South Netherlandish
Wool warp with 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.

Many species bloom in the flowering meadow of The Unicorn in Captivity; a number of these had multiple meanings as well as medicinal properties. The golden calendula, a plant of Paradise that blooms in every month of the year, was associated with the Virgin and with marriage. It was of value in cleansing ulcers and in strengthening the body. It was also used in pottage, and is still known as ‘pot marigold.’ Here, the calendula is given a prominent position at the center of the bottom of the tapestry. Although the flowers are somewhat stylized, the calendula is readily recognizable.

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