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Figurehead of the HMS Asia
Asia large
basic info
Figurehead type
Figurehead of the HMS Asia
Vessel name
HMS Asia
Type (Naval/Merchant)
Copyright owner
© National Museum of the Royal Navy
Copyright notes
Photo: © National Museum of the Royal Navy
Current location
National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth
Location date
physical info
This compact figurehead, described in the Admiralty catalogue of 1911 as the ‘Figure of a Rajah (bust)’ is an Indian male figure. A red turban adorns his head with the bust draped in a white tunic. This carving is very compact and does not incorporate the folds of simulated cloth that usually wrap the base of the torso. The turban was once white but the restorer changed this detail to red at some point. His expressive face is comically moustached and he wears gold drop earrings.
Date made
Place made
Object history
Either carved in Bombay or shipped out from the UK. The figurehead was removed from the ship when sold in 1908 and at some point between then and 1911 it made its way to Portsmouth where it now resides. It was recorded in the Admiralty’s 1911 catalogue.

The figurehead was restored at some point as the colour of the turban was changed from white to red.
Vessel history
HMS 'Asia' is the fourth of its name and was built in Bombay and launched in 1824. Asia, a 2nd rate, 84 gun vessel was Sir Edward Codrington’s flagship at Navarino (1827) and blockaded Syria in 1840. She assumed the role of a transport ship during the Crimean War. In 1858 HMS 'Asia' returned to Portsmouth to become a guard ship to ships in ordinary before finally being broken up in 1908.
David Pulvertaft ‘The Warship Figureheads of Portsmouth’ (Stroud, 2009) p.50
Admiralty Catalogue(1911) No 339
Ownership info
Owner type
Public Institution
Owner name
National Museum of the Royal Navy
Contact details
National Museum of the Royal Navy, HM Naval Base (PP66), Portsmouth PO1 3NH
Ownership can be cited online
Accessible to public
Data verified by owner
Date verified