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figurehead

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.

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"figurehead." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"figurehead." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/figurehead

"figurehead." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved May 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/figurehead

figurehead

fig·ure·head / ˈfigyərˌhed/ • n. 1. a nominal leader or head without real power. 2. a carving, typically a bust or a full-length figure, set at the prow of an old-fashioned sailing ship.

figurehead

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"figurehead." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"figurehead." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/figurehead-0

"figurehead." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved May 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/figurehead-0

figurehead

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"figurehead." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"figurehead." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/figurehead

"figurehead." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved May 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/figurehead