Historical Views of the Rockaways
On What Ship Did
This Figurehead Sail Many Years Ago?
From The Rockaway Museum
by Emil Lucev, Curator
Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke
This week’s Historical Views calls out to all you old saltwater sailors to help solve a mystery. Where did this figurehead/maidenhead found on the beach in Rockaway, many years ago, come from? Information about the carved figure is very scarce.
All that is known is that the 68 inch tall figure, carved from solid pine, was found on the beach (year unknown) by an Italian gentleman, most likely a gardener, who gave it to a Mr. Gipson, a Far Rockaway resident, for a garden decoration. The piece in question is heavily encrusted with old white paint that is mostly gone, and no other colors from older paint can be seen.
Jane Doe is wearing a flower dress with scalloped and flowered décor; a neckerchief tied as a bow with two tassels hanging; is holding a flower to her bosom; has identical bracelets on her wrists – each with a diamond hatch mark pattern; has a belt with a large buckle around the waist; a decorated sash from the left hip to the right knee; and the train and folds of the dress draped over the left arm.
Jane Doe’s elaborate hairstyle is adorned with flowers, leaves, and what looks like walnuts, in the form of a sort of tiara built on thin branches. Can this be a form of natural jewelry? The sash and shoulder epaulettes have similar décor. Her earrings also appear to be nut shaped, and the hem of the dress and the bottom of the sleeves and the collar style are unique. The long hairstyle is tied at the back of the neck and hangs down almost to the lower back. The young angelic face has eyes that stare straight ahead.
If this old ship’s artifact was painted with colors in the beginning, it must have been a beautiful sight, but, the brown wood stain and spar varnish look that shows under the old white paint might have been the original finish. It also could have been white originally.
So, all of you out there in Waveland, let’s solve this mystery. And listen up! Kawliga, the wooden Indian wants her phone number.