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Pantheistic Bes
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Pantheistic Bes

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description This dwarf-like, protective deity was very popular in ancient Egypt. Known from as early as the Middle Kingdom (ca. 2000 BCE), Bes was venerated as a protector of the home, family, and childbirth, and for that reason figures prominently in domestic magic and amulets. His close connection to all aspects of fertility and sexuality is demonstrated by the presence of his image in the "Birth-houses"-shrines associated with temples of the Late Period into the Roman era. He also had a special relation to the goddess Hathor and performed in her retinue as a musician and dancer. Bes is represented here as a composite deity. He has the nude body of Horus the Child, two pairs of wings and four arms (two stretched to the sides on top of the wings, and two hanging down in front of the body). His head has the typical characteristics of Bes, with lion mane and ears, and a stylized beard. On the sides of his head additional animal heads are depicted. The eyes of the figure were originally inlaid with gold, and his hands which are pierced, once held objects, perhaps swords.
Date Description Narrative
  • Flight, Fantasy, Faith, Fact. Dayton Art Institute, Dayton. 1953-1954.
  • Daily Magic in Ancient Egypt. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2006-2007.
Provenance Henry Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

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3rd-2nd century BCE (Ptolemaic)
Accession Number
5 1/16 in. (12.9 cm)
  • Egypt (Place of Origin)


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