Fragment of a Tapestry or Wall Hanging

Date: ca. 1420–30

Geography: Made in Basel, Switzerland

Culture: Upper Rhenish

Medium: Tapestry weave: wool on linen

Dimensions: 33 7/16 x 29 1/2 in. (85 x 75 cm)

Classification: Textiles-Tapestries

Credit Line: The Cloisters Collection, 1990

Accession Number: 1990.211

Description

This fragment of a weaving, or Rücklaken—a tapestry hung in a domestic interior at frieze level—represents a fabulous composite beast, part horse and part lion, wearing a collar ornamented with small bells that is attached to a leash held by a hand, visible at the left, which is now all that remains of a missing figure. Such animals were often depicted alongside courtly couples, shown leading or subduing them, and they are frequently associated in inscriptions on surviving tapestries with themes of love or unspoiled nature.

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