What the heck is going on in the scene shown in this fragment of tapestry hanging above a fireplace in the Chateau of Langeais?
Dominating the picture is a woman in an off the shoulder cat suit decorated with a squiggly pattern that might be snakes. She is barefoot but wears a crown, so is presumably a queen, and she is riding a lion sidesaddle and holding a hawk perched on her arm. Her bearded male companion is dressed in a similar garment, also barefoot. The pattern on his cat suit looks more like eels (or maybe lampreys...that would be good and medieval...). But on the other hand, the patterns may represent locks of hair -- after all, there is a close resemblance to the lion's mane.
Closer inspection reveals that these two characters appear twice in the tapestry. In the upper left the woman is standing, gripping the shoulders of the man beside her, who is holding a long weapon of some sort. Clearly a story is being told, cartoon style. The ribbon of text should help us interpret the images, but unfortunately it doesn't make much sense and the only words I can make out are maybe 'balde.win' and 'us.de walde.'.
The pair are heading for a castle gatehouse. I feel sure the impression that the tower has eyes that are watching them is deliberate. And there is a trumpeter on the roof, with a pennant showing clasped gauntlets.
There is no information provided about the tapestry piece, which I would guess means the curators are as mystified as me. Like I said, 'What the...??!!'
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