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Cat’s head from the Cutty Sark

Cat’s head from the Cutty Sark

Sailing ships were often bestowed with elaborate carvings and this wooden cat once adorned the famous ‘Cutty Sark’. The ship was actually built in Dumbarton, on site currently occupying Scottish Maritime Museum building.

A cathead is a large wooden beam located on either bow of a sailing ship, and angled outward at rougly 45 degrees. The beam is used to support the ship’s anchor when weighing or lowering it. Many had a cat’s or lion’s head carved on the seaward beam end.

This little cat was a donation from the ‘Cutty Sark’ Trust and is the carved end of one of the ship’s original catheads. The beams were removed as part of restoration work, with the Museum receiving the donation in 1987.

Model created as a part of ‘Scanning The Horizon’ 3D digitisation project at the Scottish Maritime Museum.

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