Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Friday, 21 November 2008

Unicorn castle tapestry revealed

Stirling Tapestry
In total seven tapestries will hang in the castle's Chapel Royal

The largest in a line of intricate tapestries being recreated as part of a priceless Renaissance work of art has been unveiled at Stirling Castle.

The intricate 11ft by 12ft tapestry, entitled The Unicorn is Found, is part of a series of seven being created by a team of weavers.

The 2m project is a reworking of a medieval set belonging to the New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The entire series is due to be completed by 2013.

Historic Scotland unveiled the work to the public at a special reception within the castle, where it is to hang in the centuries-old Chapel Royal.

The original tapestries, woven between 1495 and 1505, once adorned the walls of the castle, which was once the seat of the Stewart Kings.

They are believed to have been bought by King James V and appear in every Scottish royal inventory from 1539 to 1578.

'Ancient weaving'

The Hunt of the Unicorn series depicts the hunting and slaying of a unicorn in order to obtain its horn, which possessed mystical powers of purification.

The latest tapestry shows the moment at which hunters discover their prey.

When found, the unicorn is kneeling to dip its horn in a poisoned burn, thereby purifying the waters.

Exotic birds and animals are also depicted waiting for the magic to work so they can then drink the waters.

Chris Watkins, Historic Scotland head of major projects, said: "It is the largest of the tapestries being woven and has taken years of work to complete.

"We are proud to be helping keep alive these ancient weaving skills and to be creating new versions of one of the world's greatest surviving sets of medieval tapestries."

The project to recreate the tapestries is being funded by the Quinque Foundation in the US.

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