This South Netherlandish tapestry is on view in Gallery 305 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. What attracted me was the pair of white elephants. The theme is from Petrarch’s I Trionfi (The Triumphs) and Louis XII commissioned a series of tapestries after the work was translated into French. This particular one has been cut down and was from a series most likely created for Bishop Symphorien de Bullioud of Soissons, a man familiar with Italian culture from trips to Milan and Rome.
The figures include Alexander the Great and Charlemagne – both sporting symbols of the French kings including Charlemagne’s fleur-de-lys and Alexander’s scepter. Plato and Aristotle stand with them. And the women being trampled by the elephants? Death. Hope that should I ever meet white elephants that would not be my fate.
Interesting, white elephants in Indian Hindu, Jain & Buddhist mythology too. They are however symbol of good luck and fortune. nice, sweet and simple. do read my blogs of nature and travel . maybe you discover a new place you would like to visit .http://www.enchantedforests.wordpress.com and http://www.travelwithmukul.wordpress.com
Mukul I started following your blog – yes I had heard that white elephants are symbols of good luck – interesting how cultures around the world can give animals as well as colors opposite meanings. One of my friends gave his Japanese wife white chrysanthemums – her reaction – “so you are wishing for my death!” Not at all his intention with the gift!
ha ha , interesting. In India too white is the colour of death.