9. Mystery Shrouds the Unicorn Tapestries
Image in public domain from the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Hunt of the Unicorn, a series of seven tapestries (collectively known as the Unicorn Tapestries), is one of the most famous works of art on display in the Cloisters. In 1922, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. purchased the set for one million US dollars, and hung six in his home before donating them to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1938. They now hang on the walls of gallery 17.
Secrets of Fort Tryon Park
For over 500 years, the Unicorn Tapestries have puzzled both art historians and scholars, who have attempted to decode the meaning of the pieces to no avail. The famous set, woven in wool, silk and metallic threads, depicts a group of noblemen in pursuit of a unicorn. The letters “A” and “E” can also be found in several places throughout the tapestries, but they have not been traced back to an origin.