Bes was a popular deity, always depicted as a grotesque, deformed and bearded dwarf, with the huge face of a mask with hybrid monkey-lion features and widened legs between which hangs a long animal tail. Bes is the only deity in the Ancient Egyptian pantheon to be represented exclusively in front perspective. In Ancient Egyptian culture and religion, Bes acted as a guardian of women, the household, children, and he was particularly linked to the critical phase of labour and birth. He was also the protector of sleep, ensuring sweet dreams; in fact, he was often depicted on the beds to prevent the evil spirits from appearing in dreams. The Ancient Egyptians wore amulets alongside other pieces of jewellery. Amulets were decorative, but also served a practical purpose, being considered to bestow power and protection upon the wearer. Many amulets have been found inside the wrappings of mummies, as they were used to prepare the deceased for the afterlife.
Ancient Egyptian Bes Amulet
An Ancient Egyptian glazed composition amulet of the dwarf god Bes in bright turquoise faience. Modelled in a grotesque manner, with a grimaced face, a protruding snout and pointy ears, Bes is depicted with a full beard and loose beard, wearing a tall headdress of four large ostrich plumes. His body is postured in his typical squatting position with his hands on his knees and a prominent belly. Facial and anatomical features have been rendered across the lower part of the headdress.
Period: Late Period to Ptolemaic Period
Condition: Very fine, with some stabilised cracks to the glaze.