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17 Oct: Here be unicorns

During renovations of a house in Cley-next-the Sea, an incredible wall painting was discovered which depicts a unicorn and a mirror.

The unicorn and the mirror. CREDIT: Derek Edwards for Norfolk Archaeology.

Unicorns have always fascinated people who believed the horn of the mythical creature was an antidote to any poison (there was also a belief that only a virgin could capture one).

The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries displayed on the walls of the Gryffindor common room in most of the Harry Potter films are copies of a set of six tapestries owned by The Cluny Museum in Paris. Based on the five senses of touch, taste, smell, hearing, sight and the heart, one of these wall hangings included a unicorn looking at itself in a mirror.

The medieval mirror symbolised perfection and imperfection, eternity and evanescence, reality and fiction – the truth was reflected as a lie.


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