Egyptian Faience Vase: Bes

Egyptian Faience Vase: Bes

An ancient Egyptian blue-green faience vase with a flared neck, lightly incised floral designs and three appliques in the form of Bes wearing a plumed headdress.

Ptolemaic Period,
Ca. 330-31 BC.
Diameter: 3 5/8 in. (9 cm).

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.: S. Walker, & P. Higgs, eds., Cleopatra of Egypt, from History to Myth, (London, 2001), no. 121.

Formerly in the G. B. collection, New York, acquired at Sotheby's, New York, June 12, 2003, lot 220; previously with Habib Anavian, New York.

Inv#: 5577


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