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The Figurehead
Protector And Soul Of The Ships

A figurehead is a wooden decoration, which is attached to the forepart of ships, especially to sailing ships. According to superstition of sailors, the figurehead whatches the course of the ship and keeps it from wreck.

The heyday of figureheads began in the 17th century and lasted till the beginning of the 20th century, as the triumphal procession of the steamship began. The figurehead design often beared upon the ships name and the variety was huge: mermaids, lions, eagles and mythical creatures but also warriors, knights (picture), princes or shipowners were popular themes. Forerunners of the figurehead were the dragon heads at the forepart of the Viking's ships, which were intended to frighten the enemy.

There are many legends about figureheads and their supposed deciding role in glamorous naval battles or at the overcoming of long lasting calms. For many sailors the figurehead was the embodiment of the ship in itself, as it were the soul of the ship carrying them and wich they trust in.

In the figurative sense the term "figurehead" is used to describe concrete persons standing for an organisation or interest group. In politics, a figurehead, by metaphor with the carved figurehead at the prow of a sailing ship, is a person who holds an important title or office yet executes little actual power. The word can even refer to a powerless leader who should be exercising full authority, yet is actually being completely controlled by a more powerful figure behind the throne.

In the track "Figurehead" Covenant also uses this metaphor ("I'm the figurehead on the ship of fools") and even adds several other nautical metaphors (e.g. "A beacon for the liars", "I dive to drown"). If Covenant refers to the described expression or directly to the wooden ship decoration is of course left to one's own resources.

Image source: eckart-winkler.de
Information source: wikipedia.de wikipedia.com;

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Lyrics: Figurehead

Beyond: Deutsche Version [d]
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