Rare Unique Medieval Style Lady and the Unicorn Tapestry covered Domed hinged lid jewelry or trinket dresser box with heavy twisted iron hardware. This is a rare domed tapestry covered Treasure Chest. If you are familiar with these Tapestry Chest , then you know that they are extremely hard to find. You will probably never find another like this!
With heavy solid construction internally - it is heavy solid wood 1"inch thick construction wood base / sides, The latch and hinge assembly is a heavy cast iron hand worked metal framework - like a cage - cast iron frames every corner, with welded hinges and latch holders with a twisted swiveling clasp on the front and hinge pins on the back, The iron has a desired antique patina that looks like it has been around for a good while, fitted with heavy twisted hand worked iron hardware indicates at least early 20th century origin. Because of it's iron caged construction it weighs a hefty six (6) pounds. Measures perfectly for your treasures or valuables : 10" inches W x 7 1/2" H x 7" inch D. This box has been constructed to last by a master craftsman / artist to last many lifetimes. Superb Chest!
There is no doubt that the tapestry is a Mille-Fleurs - Lady and the Unicorn Tapestry from the subject to the materials used. The outside tapestry covering has been cut precisely, fitted, and applied in a manner which shows a Medieval Lady in a red gown on the front and top, with bird and trees, flowers from the same tapestry cloth on the sides and back.
The interior is completely covered in a gorgeous pink batik like fabric which has been tightly stretched over the wood base. The bottom is also heavy fabric - Burlap type plain light brown color.
The colors are of nice subtle muted tones with no fading or stains seen.
Everything is in great condition, with no tears or weak spots in the fabric, and the structure of the box is extremely strong.
Note: My Research did not reveal any boxes of this material or style.
Measurements are 10" wide, 7" deep and 7 1/2 high to the crest of the domed lid.
Mille-fleurs (French), also in English millefleur or mille-fleur literally means "thousand flowers" and refers to a background made of many small flowers and plants. It was an especially popular motif in tapestry and other applied arts and crafts during the Middle Ages in Europe. Mille-fleurs style was most popular in late 15th and early 16th century French and Flemish tapestry, with the best known examples including The Lady and the Unicorn and The Hunt of the Unicorn. The term is also used to describe Oriental rugs with a similar design, originally Persian but later produced in much of the Middle East and Mughal India – the medieval European style may have been influenced by Persian miniatures or carpets.
To My Only Desire The lady puts her necklace into a jewel box. There is either a bed with a curtain above it, or a tent. Some sources state that this is the allegorical refusal of temptation, and the renunciation of the five senses. Others interpretation sees the lady putting the necklace into the chest as a denial of the passions aroused in the other tapestries. Yet another version sees this tapestry as representing a sixth sense of understanding or empathy.
Lady and The Unicorn Series The Cluny Museum in Paris, also known as the National Museum of Medieval Arts, is home to many examples of magnificent medieval tapestries, including the famous Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries a set of six tapestries create in the Middle Ages and known world wide for their beauty. The Cluny Museum is also home to tapestries and weavings from many different countries including Iran, Egypt, Italy, Spain, and Great Britain. There are a variety of different decoration styles as well as production types and while all of the Museums tapestries are beautiful, the Lady and the Unicorn series is by far the most popular.
The Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries were discovered in 1841 in the Chateau de Boussac and thanks to the writings of George Sand immediately gained entrance into history. The municipality of Boussac had purchased the Chateau and all of its contents in 1837 but it was not until 1841 that the tapestries were discovered. In 1882 the tapestries were presented to the Cluny Museum by the French government. The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries were woven around 1460 probably in Tournai for the Lord of Fresne.
There are six tapestries in total belonging to the set and they are all displayed side by side in a room specially designed to house them. The Tapestries are said to represent the five human senses with the sixth tapestry representing understanding, intuition, or the sixth sense. Unicorns were popular subjects of Tapestries in the Middle Ages as they represented chastity and holiness.
The tapestry that represents tasting features a maiden holding a parakeet in her left hand while surrounded by a lion and a unicorn. The Maiden is taking something from a chest of drawers which is handed to her by her servant. There is also a dog in the picture that is eating from the floor. The tapestry that represents sight features a unicorn kneeling on the legs of the maiden and gazing into a mirror which the maiden holds. The tapestry of touch depicts the maiden caressing the unicorn while holding a squadron banner. The tapestry that represents smell shows the lady making a flower crown while behind her a monkey sniffs a scented rose. The tapestry of hearing shows the maiden playing an organ with the lion and unicorn appearing as decorations on either side of the organ.
The sixth tapestry, the one of understanding, is the hardest to interpret. Some believe it represents intuition of the sixth sense, and many scholars still debate whether it is the introduction of conclusion to the series. It depicts the maiden in front of a tent with the inscription "A Mon Seul Desir" meaning To My Sole Desire, while placing a collier in a box held by her servant.
The Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries are world famous for their size and beauty, and although their meaning is always open to interpretation there is no denying the skill and intricacy that went into creating them. The Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries were created by hand in a time before looms and undoubtedly took hundreds of hours to create
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