Cluny Museum – National Museum of Medieval Art, Paris, Ile-de-France, France
Inside the museum is a vast presentation of medieval life through sculptures, furnishings, stained glass, and manuscripts. However, the most significant objects are a group of Middle Ages tapestries known as “The Lady and the Unicorn.” Woven from the wool and silk, five of the tapestries fixated on the five senses, with a woman interacting with a unicorn, more a lion and sometimes a monkey. For example, in the “sight” tapestry it holds up a mirror to the unicorn which looks at its gauze, possibly admiring its beautiful reflection. In “touch” she has her hand on the unicorn’s horn.
The sixth tapestry remains more of a mystery with its text “To My Only Desire”, most frequently as a statement of independence or purity. No matter the meaning, it’s hard to escape from the strangely captivating unicorn as it confidently poses through the scenes.