The Passion

in The Hunt of the Unicorn

Tapestry 1 is an Annunciation but in reverse because the archangel is saluting on the right and on the left is Virgin.

Traditional iconographic elements of Annunciation are all present here :

- Archangel Gabriel arriving in the left side of the tapestry (in horizontal rotation) : the man who raises his arm on the top right (but turned to the left).
- The Holy Spirit the transmitter of sperm divine : blue bird (but turned in the opposite direction of the Archangel Gabriel).

- The trunks of three trees above the archangel : the divine rays.
- The line of trees in perspective : the usual columns. Curves vegetation contrasts with the vertical rigidity of tree trunks.
- Tree leaves strangely square or diamond : pages of the book that reads Mary, tiles flooring.
- The blue color of the bird and the leaves of the tree : the infinite, an idealized world.
- The perspective open to the landscape and garden, their flowers, their trees hortus conclusus Mary, recall the lost Eden that Christ will redeem.
- The trunk of the oak tree that symbolizes infinite temporal column interposed between Gabriel and Mary, symbol of Christ (Chistus is columna).
- The halo of light strongly colored of yellow on the trees around the hunter divine light, the lily substitute for that holds usually the archangel, flower symbol of purity and virginity.
- The circular shape of the trees aureoles Gabriel and Mary.


The Trees,

the "lacs d'amour"

and the chrism


A very pertinent comment from a reader, Axel Schneider, that I have liked to develop and to include here.
"On several representations, I think note near the tree of knowledge or the fountain , the Alpha and Omega of the Chrism."


The two letters of the Greek alphabet : Alpha and Omega.

"The alpha and omega of the Chrism" refer to the Apocalypse of St. John - 22, 13 : I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and last, the beginning and the end.

These two extreme letters symbolize the incarnation and the eternity of Christ, the origin and end of all things for Christians.


Chrism surmounting the west portal
Commandery of Montsaunès
(Haute-Garonne) - 13th century


The letters A-3 "crown" the Unicorn-Christ, themselves "crowned" by the leafy and vibrant of light "crown" of the "Tree of Life" that supports the "lacs d'amour".
The love of two sovereigns (one queen and one king : Anne de France andLouis XII - or a princess and a prince, Anne de France and Pierre de Bourbon)

The cords of each "lake of love" form the cross of chrism.


The upper loop of the " lacs d'amour " recalls the Egyptian "ankh" cross



— tapestry 1 : no unicorn but the chrism "crowns" the "king" and the feather of the cap touches the letter A
— tapestry 2 : the chrism "crowns" too the initial "Chaos" and the creation of the cosmos
— Tapestry 3: the chrism "crowns" also the Baptism
— Tapestry 4: the chrism "crowns" also the "Conception" of the Messiah
— Tapestry 6: no central chrism on the "Tree of Death" of the Passion
— tapestry 7: the chrism "crowns" too the Resurrection and the Ascension


Music : Sound and Blood

Dumb tapestries. Yet open mouths, mouths screaming or shouting. Cries, calls, perhaps laughters, songs, words ... We are hunting ... Is there just mentioned in The Hunt, in a single note, that this demonic element in music that denounced Platon in his time ?

tapisserie 3 : two hunters (by symmetry) call with their horns the rest of the hunt.tapestry 4 : the horn represents the words of Gabriel to Mary at the Annunciation.tapestry 5 : the hunter sounds the hallali.tapestry 6 : the horn only collects the blood of Christ without making any sound.


Where are the primordial Words and the music of the spheres ? In the harp of Orpheus that the unicorn and the dog draw in tapestry 4 ?

Do you see the silhouette of the harp ?



The hierogamy : divine union of the god and the goddess (by a ceremonial and ritual union of the king and the queen)

The world is regenerated each time the hierogamy is imitated by a matrimonial union : fertility, wealth and happiness is assured.


The renewal of the King is assured :

— by the death of previous sovereign (here : the unicorn)

— The birth of the son, 'the regenerator' : for the alchemists, the "fixation" is the final operation where the red color appears. This is represented by a newborn child or a "young king crowned" or dressed in the royal coat enclosed in the "philosophical egg". This child is the symbol of the "Philosophical Stone", the "elixir".

The body, mind and spirit just make one and the alchemist-pilgrim became a man spiritually realized.



the "philosophical egg"

A brown egg seems to have been drawn
by the horse's neck and left arm of the Queen




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