Concise but comprehensive, this history of figureheads and ship carvings covers the period from ancient Egypt to the present, with emphasis on the great period of decoration between the late sixteenth century and the end of the age of sail. The decoration of a ship was often done to signify its importance or demonstrate pride of ownership, but was also added to appease sea gods and scare off enemies, as exemplified by the eyes on Chinese Junks and the ferocious dragons on Viking ships, while the lion figurehead symbolized naval power. Michael Stammers explains that the powerful typographic logos seen on the sides of container ships today attest to a company's struggle for commercial domination. In the book he describes the ship carvers as well as collections of figureheads that can be seen in museums around the world. With its numerous illustrations, this book will appeal to all those with an interest in ships and their decorations.