This object is a ‘Cat Head’, a large decorative piece featuring a feline face, it originally adorned the bow of a sailing ship. Naval ships between the 17th and 19th centuries commonly featured carved wooden ornamentation.

The term ‘cathead’ also describes a wooden beam extending from either side of a ship’s bow, crucial for weighing and releasing anchors while ensuring they remained clear of the hull.

The origins of the term ‘cathead’ are uncertain, sparking ongoing debate about whether the carving was named after the part of the ship or if the part of the ship was named after the design of the carving.