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November 5, 2014

Tapestry tales

The Unicorn is Killed and Brought to the Castle (from the Unicorn Tapestries, Met Museum)

Tapestries tell stories. Beyond the primary image, small details add layers of meaning. Violets might symbolize saints. Wild strawberries indicate desire. A rabbit, fertility.

While writing The Taking, I was studying medieval iconography. I became so caught up in the symbols I was learning about that I created an entire series of tapestries for Amarys' walls--each one filled with plants, animals, and figures that revealed hidden aspects of the novel. In the course of edits, most of the tapestries were cut out, but symbols inspired by medieval art appear throughout the text.

To explore these inspiring images, take a look at The Lady and the Unicorn and The Unicorn Tapestries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Met's site is one of my favorites. It includes clickable detail views, providing information on the symbolic meaning and practical function of each item.

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