in the Shadow of Greatness


February 10, 2005

IMC :: unicorn motifs

This week we were talking about unicorn representations in Amber and discovered that they fall into four kinds:

  1. the Trump backs show a white silhouette unicorn rampant facing dexter on emerald field, presumed by Dworkin. This figure is stylized with hooves striking outward. This also appears on the livery of the Royal Guard and on holiday banners. The physique seems a powerful iconic lion rather than emulating a horse.
  2. the Church has regalia and one life-sized golden statue with the gold Unicorn always shown facing dexter, by many artists, most of them clergy. These images notable for the amazing strength and chest muscles shown on the horse-like figure.
  3. the common folk will sometimes tattoo their girl children for luck, dark ink silhouette, unicorn looking dexter over shoulder while body faces sinister, one hoof raised. Shaped like pointed brush strokes.
  4. the castle has an iron emblem mounted under the stair up to the drawbridge, this unicorn shown galloping to dexter, figure fitted within an enclosing ring. Nearly deer-like in physique.
I think what struck was that each image is 'typical' and yet gives a very different feel depending on whether you are royal, noble, church, or common folk.

And official documents of the realm, likewise the money and financial drafts of Amber include the crown seal (five pointed crown), not the unicorn.

Filed under : Amber, IMC at 10.02.2005