Skip Navigation

Protective God

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: 19th Dynasty to Roman Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor

The Egyptians had a special class of deities, including Bes, Aha, and Hayet, that protected mothers and very young children. This piece shows one of these deities nursing an infant god. In antiquity metal rings were inserted into the holes at the top of the headdress and through the pierced ears. When shaken like a rattle, the piece produced a rustling sound intended to soothe a crying baby.

MEDIUM Faience
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 945–718 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 22
    PERIOD Third Intermediate Period
    DIMENSIONS 5 15/16 x 2 1/2 x 15/16 in. (15.1 x 6.4 x 2.4 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Light green faience plaque of Bes figure, standing, wears high five feathered headdress. Seated baboons on each shoulder, baboon in profile between knees. In right hand is an oval object, in left, a stylized, elongated crocodile (?). Back: Wears a lion’s tail. At headdress is a bound gazelle in relief. Bes stands ion a papyrus capital. The entire figure decorated with brown spots; headdress decorated with five vertical stripes. Eyes and mouth suggest previous inlays. Condition: Base partly missing. Tip of object held in left hand is broken. Glaze is somewhat worn on obverse.
    CAPTION Protective God, ca. 945–718 B.C.E. Faience, 5 15/16 x 2 1/2 x 15/16 in. (15.1 x 6.4 x 2.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 58.171. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.58.171_wwg8.jpg)
    IMAGE installation, West Wing gallery 8 installation, CUR.58.171_wwg8.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
    You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.