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Mould for a stove tile found in the Haus zum Blauen Stein, Rheingasse 11

Key data

Basle, 15th century

Coarse clay (grog), design impressed and reworked

height 26.5 cm, width 79 cm, depth 7.5 cm

Inv. 1928.36.


The unicorn, like the basilisk, is one of the fabulous beasts that feature in the imagery of medieval Basle: it is included among a range of mythical creatures shown on tapestries, where its ambiguous powers are subdued by virtuous virgins. The significance of its appearance has been the subject of much scholarly interpretation. The beast figured on this pattern for a stove tile reappears in a modified form on the stove from Augustinergasse reconstructed in the Barfüsserkirche. There the animal is transformed into a rearing stag, whose antlers can be better accommodated in the rectangular surface of the tile than the unicorn's horn, which had to be bent round in order to fit.

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Basel Historical Museum
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