A French ship of the 15th and 16th centuries, a development and enlargement of the cog up to 300–400 tons. They were three masted with square mainsail and topsail on the mainmast and a single square sail on the fore and mizzen, with a spritsail under the bowsprit. Some of the larger nefs carried a bonaventure mizzen with a square sail in addition. They were of carvel construction and were used for trade and war purposes alike. The word has come down to us today to describe the table ornaments, in the shape of a ship, which in those days decorated the dining tables of the nobility and in which was kept the salt, a costly commodity in medieval times. These ornaments were of very beautiful, intricate, and exquisite design, almost always of silver but very occasionally of crystal, and today are extremely rare and valuable.
Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700) — Maritime History.