Tapestry (Bear Hunt and Falconry from a Hunts Series)

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Franco-Flemish

Tapestry (Bear Hunt and Falconry from a Hunts Series), c. 1525

Wool and silk, silt and single and double dovetailed tapestry weave
259.8 x 337.5 cm (102 5/16 x 132 7/8 in.)
Restricted gift of Mrs. Charles H. Schweppe through the Needlework and Textile Guild, 1928.191

This scene, the center section of a larger tapestry, depicts the dramatic pursuit of a bear, with falconers conducting a much tamer hunt in the background. Enthusiasm for hunting was widespread among the European aristocracy, and this popular pastime was a common subject for late medieval tapestries. Hunting was not simply a diversion for the privileged, but was also fundamental to the education of a nobleman, testing his intellectual and physical prowess. Hunts, which often took place over several days, were social occasion for both men and women. The women were often spectators, as this tapestry shows.

— Permanent collection label