Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Harry Potter and Unicorn Tapestries


Yes, we were one of those crazy people who waited in line for hours last night to catch the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. What excited us the most, however, was not the Quidditch Game, the fight scene at the end or even our fellow Harry Potter-acs who dressed up in costume for the show (our favorite was an elfin Dobby). No, for us, it was what appeared to be a replica of the Unicorn in Captivity tapestry hanging in the halls of Hogwarts.



What's so special about this tapestry? The real one hangs in the Cloisters, the branch of the Metroplitan Museum in northern Manhattan that also happens to be our next door neighbor. The one shown in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is the final of seven tapestries that displays the hunt and eventual capture of the unicorn. According to the New Yorker, the unicorn was a symbol of Christianity, immortality, wisdom, lovers and marriage. It adds an interesting layer to this film in particular, which (and we don't think we're spoiling anything here, since almost everyone has read the book) culminates with the murder of Dumbeldore.

If you ever make the trek to the Cloisters, call us! We'll meet you for a picnic after.

13 comments:

roslalana@hotmail.com said...

Hi,

Really happy to see that somebody elses noticed tha unicorn because I went to the Cloisters for first time last year with friends and took pictures of the tapestry, and as a good fan, went today to the first showing of the movie here in MA and really loved to see the unicorn there.

Sara said...

if you are really observant, you will notice that a scene from the set of the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries that hang in Paris is all over the walls of Harry's common room! I also noticed that another scene from the Cloisters set is in another room at Hogwarts.. if I remember correctly, in Dumbledore's office. Needless to say, I was very very excited!

Anonymous said...

I was at Stirling Castle about 6 years ago and watched two women weaving a reproduction of one of the unicorn tapestries. Seeing it in Harry Potter took my breath away at the memory. Pictures and film do not do it justice!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad someone else noticed! I thought I was crazy!

julz said...

My art humanities class this year focused much of our time studding the Unicorn tapestries, we took a field trip in May to go see them in the Clositers. I was pleasantly shocked to see them in the Harry Potter movie! And yes Sara is right, I noticed that too, there was another tapestry in the common room!

Anonymous said...

I am glad I was not crazy but I think I was the only person in the theater to even realize these were famous reproductions. It made me look at the rest of the art in the background to see if there were other famous works dropped in like easter eggs.

vapaamies said...

Yeah! I noticed that, too. I used to live on the corner of Arden Street and Broadway at the base of that big hill and used to walk up there pretty often. I am glad it was not my imagination! Just went to google it to show pictures of it to some people (here in Finland) and found your page. Enjoy!

The Jet Set Girls said...

Vapaamies-
We're neighbors! I live on Arden, too! Small world! Thanks for reading.
Anne

Anonymous said...

I just saw it last night (harry potter) and the day before that I was at the cloisters and got a look at the tapestries for the first time. It was a bit enthralling to see it and recognize it. possibly the most famous piece of textile in the world, after the shroud of turin.

Mareli said...

Oh wow, somebody else noticed these tapestries. I kept pointing them out to my friends and I think that they think I was going mad.

Can anyone venture a guess as to why these tapestries are used in to movies? I say movies (plural) cause I first noticed them in The Order of the Phoenix... What could the reason be to use such random tapestries in Harry Potter films??

AirborneAngel said...

Well, if you really adore this set of tapestries, then you might enjoy the opening sequence of "The Last Unicorn," as the ENTIRE set was featured towards the beginning while playing America's "The Last Unicorn."

Anonymous said...

I was in Stirling Castle earlier this year and I say these tapestries too. I was stunned when I say them in the latest HP movie. I really loved them when I was in Stirling. They are so lovely.

Anonymous said...

i have not seen the tapestries in person, i came across this post when i researched harry potter and unicorn tapestries, the funny thing is that i researched it because of the movie the last unicorn. the unicorn in captivity tapestry is portrayed in the movie the last unicorn, which was a favorite of mine as a kid. i just thought that was kind of cool.

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