The questions everyone asks about pirates and privateers
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Question of Helen (11.04.2015): I have for a long time been looking for the exact name of a prow sculpture
that had a face carved mostly in wood and was laid in front of a sailboat.
Could pirates decorate their boats with such sculptures? A:
Pirates did not have time to carve and decorate their ships with figureheads.
If they had a figurehead, it was certainly from a ship they had plundered!
The sailors were very superstitious and almost always had a figurehead (= front) of their ship. She was the symbol of an offering to the sea to appease the gods of the sea.
Figureheads were rarely male deities (such as Triton or Poseidon) or animals, but women or sirens also often featured. These female forms were a tribute to the gods of the sea. Women might also be that, and bearing misfortune they were used in the bow to scare the evil spirits of the sea.