A tapestry is a picture woven into cloth. It's a decorative rug you hang on the wall, with detailed images or designs on it. Some tapestries, like the famous Unicorn Tapestries, tell stories with their pictures.
Weaving an image into cloth is a brilliant idea — it makes art accessible and portable. And a tapestry offers something a painting can't: warmth. Think of those cold castle walls in medieval Europe, add a tapestry, and you're warmer already. You can use tapestry to describe anything that's multi-layered and complex, like the tapestry of life in a rural town, or the tapestry of your family history, or the tapestry of plot and character in your favorite novel.