Amulet in the Form of the God Bes
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
Bes was popularly worshipped as protector of women and infants, and as a facilitator of fertility. Shown standing on the head and shoulders of a woman with a baby, in Bes with Lute the god protects the mother and newborn by driving away potential harm with the sounds of his musical instrument. The large, round ears and facial folds seen on the Finial are reminiscent of a snarling lion and connect Bes with powerful felines. Because Bes was a multifaceted god who offered protection during such times of transition as pregnancy and birth, women wore his images, like the Amulet, while giving birth or during rites of passage.
ca. 1390-1322 B.C.E.
1 7/16 x 11/16 x 3/8 in. (3.6 x 1.7 x 1 cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
Pale gold pendant in the form of the god Bes. Sheet metal, made in two halves impressed in dies. Loop atop head and tail added separately.
This item is not on view
Amulet in the Form of the God Bes, ca. 1390-1322 B.C.E. Gold, 1 7/16 x 11/16 x 3/8 in. (3.6 x 1.7 x 1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.710E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.710E_front_PS4.jpg)
front, 37.710E_front_PS4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2016
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Where is this from?
It is said to come from Thebes. This an Egyptian amulet of the god Bes from the New Kingdom Period. A god of protection for women and infants, he would have been worn by a woman who was pregnant or giving birth.
When is the New Kingdom period?
The New Kingdom is considered 1550–1070 B.C. and thought to be the "Third Great Era" of Egyptian culture. At this time Egypt pushed their control into Nubia and the Near East. As a result, the New Kingdom pharaohs commanded unimaginable wealth, it was an amazingly prosperous time and amazing example of art come from this time.