In C.C. Humphrey’s The Hunt of the Unicorn, a young woman named Elayne slips through a magical tapestry and enters a magical world. It’s an intriguing set-up for a fantasy novel, but the tapestry – or tapestries - in question are no work of fiction.
Woven sometime in the 15th century, the tapestries depict a group of medieval huntsmen pursuing a unicorn. The tapestries – there are seven of them – each depict a different scene in the hunt. In a way, they’re kind of like a medieval comic book in that they’re supposed to be “read” as one story.
No one knows for sure who made the tapestries or why they were woven, but many experts believe they’re symbolic in nature. The unicorn may represent any one of a thousand things – purity, goodness, even Jesus Christ – but it’s likely to remain a matter of debate for the time being.
Just like in the book, the tapestries hang today in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but don’t try to walk through them: the guards frown on that kind of thing.