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Amulet of Bes

Place of production Egypt
Date 6th-2nd centuries B.C.
Object type sculpture
Medium, technique Limestone

10.5 x 6.2 x 2.9 cm

Inventory number 60.13-E
Collection Egyptian Art
On view Museum of Fine Arts, Basement Floor, Ancient Egypt, Daily life

The god Bes is one of the most characteristic and unique figures of the Egyptian pantheon. His figure appeared for the first time during the Middle Kingdom on the objects of protective magic, designed for pregnant women and newborn children, but the characteristic iconography of the god was established in the New Kingdom. From the Eighteenth Dynasty onwards, Bes appears in a frontal view with a nude dwarf-like body, bandy-legs, a grotesque, mask-like face with protruding tongue, lion’s mane and ears, and a plume headdress.
The relief depicts Bes as a nude, standing god with his arms resting on his hips. The god’s face is broad with a protruding tongue and a straight upper lip. The body is small and squat, the muscles on the limbs are emphasized, especially at the calves. Bes is wearing a panther fur, typical in his iconography from the Third Intermediate Period. Its paws are hanging from his shoulders and the head appears as an amulet on the neck. The object may have been used as a magical amulet.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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