Object Lesson

Looming Large

WHAT IT IS A 16th-century wool-and-silk tapestry from Brussels, commissioned by Marcantonio Bossi, a member of one of Europe's oldest families. Measuring over 10 feet by 11 feet, the piece will be for sale by the Galerie Chevalier at the Paris Biennial Antiques Exhibition, September 15 to 28.

WHY IT'S IMPORTANT The roots of the Bossi family can be traced back millennia; the name even turns up in the myth of Europa, who was seduced by Jupiter (in the guise of a white bull). The white bull is, in fact, the central image in the family coat of arms, which is woven into the tapestry. To the left of the crest, a figure holds a rudder, the symbol of responsibility, authority, and prudence. A figure on the right, accompanied by a small dog symbolizing fertility, carries a banner reading VIRTUTE PACIENCIA IN MORTALITAS. It is the only known Bossi family tapestry in existence.

ASKING PRICE $240,000. The 22nd Biennial Antiques Exhibition, 99 Rue de Rivoli, Paris; 33-1/44-51-74-74; www.biennaledesantiquaires.com. Galerie Chevalier, 33-1/42-60-72-68; www.galerie-chevalier.com.