The unicorn is known to have the power to heal sickness. Many medieval remedies were based on the powder from its horn.
It was commonly thought that only a young girl could approach a unicorn, and in order to capture it and acquire its precious horn, one had to use a virgin as bate.
These coveted collectible objects could be found in the cabinets of curiosities owned by monarchs. At the turn of the eighteenth century, the truth was revealed: they were actually narwhal horns.
In the Bible or religious iconography, the unicorn's horn has divine power and also symbolizes Christ the Redeemer. This naturally makes it a perfect iconography for heraldry. During the seventeenth century, it became one of the most commonly used emblems for coats of arms, like those of Great-Britain.
During the nineteenth century, enthusiasm for the Middle Ages revived the unicorn's iconography, especially with symbolists such as Gustave Moreau. Today, once again, the unicorn inspires contemporary artists, for example in the artwork The Broken Dream by English artist Damien Hirst.