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 ?
The da Cunha exhibit opened in July, shortly after the Figurehead and Biscuit pieces shipped.
But when the figurehead is taken down to undergo much-needed restoration, Vicki sneaks into the attic where it is being stored and makes an amazing discovery: there appears to be a photograph embedded inside the hollow head, of a man hanging on a ship.
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.
More accessible than the moody, undiplomatic, media-shy Kudelka, the glamorous Kain has proved herself tough and resourceful, and would be much more than a figurehead.
Struggling to defend themselves against attacks on their lives, an attempted murder charge, and a sinister plot that endangers thousands of lives--including that of a Russian ballerina desperate to escape the clutches of brooding master musician and Russian Mafia figurehead.
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.
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.
As Protestant warrior queen and militant protectress of international Calvinism, she dominates the oppositional discourses of the period, a glorious foil setting off the alleged failings of her successors; but Stuart texts also represent her as benevolent and majestic absolutist facing down an insubordinate Commons; as master-architect of a via media between prerogative and Parliamentary rule; as female figurehead deferring to the masculine wisdom of her advisors; as Machiavellian despot; as the "embodiment of Whiggery" (109).
In other words, you cannot have a minority or woman just as a figurehead.
government under President Bush has forced the Park Service to become a great figurehead that only serves itself, not the people.