Bowl with The Virgin and the Unicorn and arms of Matthias Corvinus and Beatrice of Aragon

Date: probably ca. 1486–88

Culture: Italian, Pesaro

Medium: Maiolica (tin-glazed earthenware)

Dimensions: Overall (confirmed): 4 × 18 7/8 in. (10.2 × 47.9 cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Pottery

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1946

Accession Number: 46.85.30


This large bowl or dish belongs to a set made as a gift for the king and queen of Hungary; their royal arms appear at the top, interrupting the elaborate border. Concentric circles of ribbons, flowers, and geometric designs act as a framing device for the central scene, where the woman and unicorn probably symbolize chastity. Beautiful and functional, a dish like this one might have hung from a wall at times and been used at a table at others.