The Figurehead Collection

The Mariners' Museum's collection of ninety-two figureheads that once graced the bows of sailing ships comprises one of the largest figurehead collections in the world, some of which are prominently displayed throughout the Museum. From ancient to modern times, seafarers have decorated the bows of the vessels with figureheads of either animal or human forms for a variety of reasons—from the ship's name to protection from the sea to glorification. Used by the early Egyptians, figureheads were common until the transition from sail to steam in the late ninteenth century.


Figurehead from USS Lancaster, circa 1880
John Haley Bellamy, carver (Amer. 1836-1914)
OF 31
Figurehead from Barkentine Bear of Oakland, circa 1874
Unknown Carver
OF 37
Jenny Lind Figurehead from an Unknown Schooner
Unknown Carver
OF 8


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