Egyptian Faience Amulet of Bes
An ancient Egyptian white faience circular amulet of Bes. The dwarf-like leonine god wears a plumed head dress.
Late Period, ca. 700-30 BC.
Bes, the bandy-legged leonine dwarf god, was an apotropaic deity, the protector of the home, children, and women in pregnancy and childbirth. In his role as protector of the home he was thought to dispel bad dreams and by increasing virility in men and fertility in women, he was seen as a symbol of fecundity. He is generally depicted nude, wearing a lion's mane, a plumed headdress, and a tail. He is also seen dancing, brandishing a sword, or frightening off evil spirits by playing music. Bes continued to be a popularly depicted protective deity well into the Graeco-Roman Period.
cf.: C. Andrews, Amulets of Ancient Egypt, (Texas, 1994), p. 22.
Formerly in the collection of Luigi Vassali, (1812-1887), Italy, gift of Horace L. Mayer Tomfa.