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Figure of the God Bes

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

The unusual frontal attitude, extended tongue, and feathered headdress of the leonine god Bes offer a powerful image of protection. This terrifying deity was believed to guard worshippers during the most vulnerable moments of pregnancy and childbirth, and in the transition between life and death.
MEDIUM Faience
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 945–712 B.C.E., or later
    DYNASTY Dynasty 22
    PERIOD Third Intermediate Period
    DIMENSIONS 6 7/8 x 3 5/8 x 7/8 in. (17.5 x 9.2 x 2.3 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Large blue and black glazed figure of the god Bes. The piece is glazed blue with the details rendered in black. The piece is rather flat although modeled on both front and rear surfaces. The god wears his feathered headdress which is pierced, from front to rear, with four holes for attachment or suspension. On his shoulders were monkeys (now mostly missing). Between his legs, and rendered in relief, is another small Bes figure. On the rear of the feathered headdress a bound antelope is rendered in relief. Condition: Mended from three pieces. Legs missing. Monkeys mostly missing from shoulders. Much of right arm missing. Small chip in leg of smaller Bes figure.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Figure of the God Bes, ca. 945–712 B.C.E., or later. Faience, 6 7/8 x 3 5/8 x 7/8 in. (17.5 x 9.2 x 2.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.309E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.309E_transp6128.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 37.309E_transp6128.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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