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The Unicorn Defends Itself

The Unicorn Defends Itself (from the Unicorn Tapestries), 1495–1505
South Netherlandish
Wool warp with wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts; Overall: 145 x 158 in. (368.3 x 401.3 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of John D. Rockefeller Jr., 1937 (37.80.4)

The range of bright reds, purplish reds, and oranges in The Unicorn Defends Itself are derived from madder, although the mordant used to yield the individual colors varies. Copper was added to aluminum for the darkest reds of the costume worn by the gray-haired hunter on the right. The orange silk wefts were achieved with a combination of weld and madder, using an unidentified mordant.

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