Lady and the Unicorn Tapestry - "À Mon Seul Désir" Postcard

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Lady and the Unicorn Tapestry -

Lady and the Unicorn Tapestry - "À Mon Seul Désir", France

À Mon Seul Désir This tapestry is wider than the others, and has a somewhat different style. The lady stands in front of a tent, across the top of which is written "À Mon Seul Désir", an obscure motto, variously interpretable as "to my only/sole desire", "according to my desire alone"; "by my will alone", "love desires only beauty of soul", "to calm passion". Her maidservant stands to the right, holding open a chest. The lady is placing the necklace she wears in the other tapestries into the chest. To her left is a low bench with a dog sitting on a decorative pillow. It is the only tapestry in which she is seen to smile. The unicorn and the lion stand in their normal spots framing the lady while holding onto the pennants. This tapestry has elicited a number of interpretations. One interpretation sees the lady putting the necklace into the chest as a renunciation of the passions aroused by the other senses, and as an assertion of her free will. Another sees the tapestry as representing a sixth sense of understanding. Various other interpretations see the tapestry as representing love or virginity. It is also debated whether the lady in "À Mon Seul Désir" is picking up or setting aside the necklace. A new proposal suggests that the French words, "à mon seul désir," translate to "with my unique desire," meaning that people are the only species that covet material objects even as we share the five senses with animals.

Photo by Beausoleil

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