Unicorn Tapestries

The first time I went to Paris I went to the Musee de Cluny and spent a long time trying to make sense out of the unicorn tapestries.

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 “my one/sole desire”, “according to my desire alone”; “by my will alone”, “love desires only beauty of soul”, “to calm passion”

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I heard an interview once with Joseph Campbell where he talks about being a 23 (or so) year old student in Paris – must’ve been 1925 or so.  He was there to study Provençal and medieval French.  He says one day he sat down on the steps of the Musee de Cluny and thought to himself, “what the fuck  [I’m paraphrasing] am I doing learning Provençal?  I don’t even know how to make a decent meal for myself!”

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The tapestries were rediscovered in 1841 by Prosper Mérimée in Boussac castle where they had been suffering damage from their storage conditions.

The next time I went to Paris I didn’t waste my time staring at 16th century tapestries.  I partied all night with Chris McK and his friends at some underground club or someplace and in the morning Durbin and I scalped tickets to the French Open.

 

 



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