Sunday, July 11, 2010

Religious OR Pagan?

The NYT has an interesting article about the impact on art viewers of security alarms that beep when people get too close to a work of art, in this case, the famous Unicorn Tapestries at the Cloisters in New York. (And these tapestries -- likely created by women -- are amazing; if you ever get a chance to see them, take it!) Fair enough, until you get to the article's description of the Unicorn Tapestries.

Each of the four tapestries depicts an episode in the story of a lone unicorn that is hunted in a forest and eventually killed — a visual narrative rich with religious, pagan or mythological imagery (depending on which scholar one asks). The ambiguity of the imagery, and the vivid details of the weaving — one tapestry shows the unicorn surrounded by a thousand little flowers — explain why visitors to that display want to get near it.

Religious or [small "p"] pagan? Really? Come on.

What the author means to say is that the symbols are seen by some as xian and by some as Pagan. Paganism has always been a form of religious expression, and was so when xians began adopting many of Paganism's symbols, holidays, and sacred sites as their own. Sad to see an otherwise intersting article marred by flat-out ignorance and prejudice.

I'm not even going to start in on calling other people's religions "myths."

Picture found here.

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