The Captive Unicorn Meaning?

The Unicorn in Captivity is a very interesting piece. The Unicorn in Captivity is very allegorical in that it contains many mysteries within its threads. This piece of tapestry is extremely intriguing in that it’s not clear cut. You can’t just look at it and discover the meaning the artist was trying to unveil. Even now, artisans and historians cannot fully uncover the truth hidden in this tapestry. There are too many clues involved. Based on some clues, historians can, with educated guesses, pick out two reasonable stories to express what they think the artist may have been trying to convey, but there is a possibility that this story of the Unicorn in Captivity may stay a secret for some the time to come.

There are possibly more meanings than one to tell the truth of this story. Over time however, historians have only really brought two ideas to light. People who study this tapestry would tell you that the symbols entwined in thread are very contradictory, which makes it hard to discover the truth behind this capture of the Unicorn. One idea is that because of the pomegranate tree; there is supposed to be a marriage to commence. The other theory is that this painting is supposed to be Christian in nature. No matter the theory, the Unicorn is thought to be pure of heart and that it cannot be captured by mere man, but that it let itself be captured. The story is supposed to be that of a tale of a hunt. If we are to go with the Christian aspect, then it would mean that it is said that the Unicorn can only be caught and tamed by that of a virgin. That being said; the Unicorn being the most pure of creatures, would symbolize Christ, and the virgin would be that of the Virgin Mary. The hunt is supposed to symbolize that of the Roman Soldiers persecuting Christ. Though it shows the unicorn captured, you can see that the fence is low and could be quite easy to jump over. The unicorn is also tethered with only a thin rope to that of a pomegranate tree. This is supposed to symbolize that the unicorn can easily escape. The meaning is most likely telling the story of Jesus Christs capture and crucifixion. The unicorn tethered to the pomegranate tree is like Christs crucifixion on the cross. Just like Christ had the power to get down and save himself if he wanted; the unicorn could have easily broken the rope and jumped over the fence to escape. It is clear that the unicorn is choosing to stay even though it may be suffering. Some historians have said that it looks as though the unicorn is happy to stay and be captured; but I think that this may be the telling of Christ and his great sacrifice. He didn’t want to stay, but it was what he had to do to save us all from our sins.  Historians believe that this is actually not only the story of the crucifixion of Christ but actually the resurrection of Christ. The pomegranate is actually a symbol of life and resurrection. It looks as though the unicorn is bleeding from being captured but actually it is believed that it is just the pomegranate seeds that are bleeding out on him. It’s supposed to be symbolic of Christ’s resurrection.



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