What is the meaning of this creature, beyond beautiful? Some said wisdom, others marriage. Some said a Christ-figure, others immortality. Whatever the case, it fell like a stag in the allegorical hunt. Consider the spirit’s pining against the vulnerability of the flesh.
In concert now: eternal yearning and earthly forces. These men with dogs in the first panel, they don’t look much up to the chase, more like bored heirs hanging out in a forest. Only the page in the distance seems alert: Look, look! Over here!
Now here’s the unicorn at the fountain, dipping his narwhal horn, the bitter water sweetened by its touch. Other animals gather. Witness the detail: the pheasant’s reflection in the pool. None of the hunters are looking. They stand around, talking.
Next: the creature surrounded, pierced on all sides with their spears, wearing the martyr’s expression. Notice the waiting reverence of the dogs while the men attack; the bloodlust. One of the hounds is pierced in the next panel, when the bleeding unicorn rises, kicking back.
A maiden appears by the wounded creature’s side while a dog licks its back. It is placid now. Someone in the background sounds a horn. Here comes the death blow, the body paraded into town on the back of a horse. Townspeople look ambivalent; the dogs appear nervous, alert.
Finally, the unicorn appears loosely chained to a tree. A low fence encircles him, the surrounding garden abundant, and what once appears to be blood now appears to be the juice of a pomegranate dripping from his side.
Inspired by The Unicorn Tapestries