We’ve got a lot of ground to cover here, so let’s not waste any time. This will be the first post in a two-part listicle.
1. Lucas Cranach the Elder, Paradise, 1536
Who’s that little guy playing around in the garden of Eden? That’s just a unicorn running around with some other furballs. Mention of unicorns pop up in the Old Testament a whopping 9 times.
2. Swiss Tapestry, 16th century
Unicorns took on many different meanings. Here, a unicorn reclines next to a chaste maiden. With its gaping mouth, this fierce unicorn looks primed for battle. It stands ready to protect the maiden’s virginity from any of the huntsman’s lustful advances.
3. Albrecht Dürer, The Abduction of Persephone, 1516
In so much as unicorns were associated with chastity, their long, powerful horns often drew other, obvious connotations. Unicorns were total sluts and here’s a naked woman riding one. Ok, that’s not exactly what’s happening here, but you get the picture.
4. 17th century Persian manuscript
That fuzzy unicorn means the lady’s a virgin.
6. Bartholomaeus Anglicus, 15th century manuscript
Jesus rode unicorns, which is cool. What’s cooler? Jesus was called a unicorn by the Christian Church, too. “Christ is the power of God, therefore He is called the unicorn on the ground that He has one horn, that is, one common power with the Father,” explained Saint Basil the Great in the 4th century A.D.