figurehead


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figurehead,

carved decoration usually representing a head or figure placed under the bowsprit of a ship. The art is of extreme antiquity. Ancient galleys and triremes carried rostrums, or beaks, on the bow to ram enemy vessels. These beaks were often surmounted by figureheads representing national or religious emblems. Roman vessels were sometimes embellished with large heads of the gods in bronze. Viking ships had lofty and extended prows which were elaborately carved. Dragons and lions vied with the human form in the figureheads of the Renaissance. During the 18th and 19th cent. a highly developed and original art of figurehead wood carving flourished in the United States at a time when little other sculpture was practiced. Few examples survive. With the disappearance of the sailing vessel figurehead art became practically extinct. A fine collection of American figureheads is in the Mariners' Museum, Newport News, Va.

figurehead

[′fig·yər‚hed]
(naval architecture)
An ornament placed on the foremost edge of the stem just below the bowsprit.

figurehead

a carved bust or full-length figure at the upper end of the stems of some sailing vessels
References in periodicals archive ?
Caption: By exploring the use of precast concrete drainage structures Biscuit (top, left) and Figurehead (top, right; above), MCA officials note, Alexandre da Cunha makes "artistic arrangements from the different sizes and shapes available to the construction trade.
It is believed that the last Royal Navy ship with a figurehead was the sloop HMS Cadmus, launched in 1903.
Former pupils of Wellesley travelled from across the country to reunite for the unveiling after it has been restored by world renowned figurehead historian Richard Hunter.
These include Isaac Fowles's beautiful full-length female figurehead Lady with a Scarf, carved during the 1820s and now part of the Bostonian Society collection at the Old State House in Boston, and the magnificent Peace, one of the truly great maritime-related carvings to have survived.
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The royal will become the figurehead of Haddo House Choral and Operatic Society, near Tarves, Aberdeenshire.
Honorary positions on charitable executive boards and figurehead positions as chief executive officer or president are quite a distinction and often highly valued by those appointed, but danger exists if the company or organization fails to pay its payroll taxes.
Graham, who was tapped by Reed to serve as a figurehead, insisted that he was acting as a private citizen, not as outgoing president of the denomination--even though the event took place during the SBC's annual meeting.
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The details of his alleged telephone-tapping scandal are bad enough--as is the very strong probability that his company, Takefuji, may cave in as a result of losing its figurehead and founder.