"Figurehead and Cutwater Carving of the U.S.S.
Susquehanna and the U.S.S. Powhatan"
Unsigned, ca. 1850
Pencil on paper
13" x 24" National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Bureau
Figurehead and Cutwater Carving An unknown artist designed this carving of a bird
with eagle-like features and stylized flowers, fruit, and acorns, for
the prow and cutwater for both the U.S.S. Susquehanna and U.S.S.
Powhatan. Figureheads and stern carvings date back to ancient times.
Over the years, the subjects of these decorations varied from protective
guardian spirits, fierce dragons, and lions to allegorical images and
human figures. This carving is likely to have been an attempt to create
a motif for an American ship using images of native American fauna and