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Figure of Bes with Child

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

The dangers of childbirth could be reduced by having images of the god Bes in the tomb. Bes protected women during delivery and then assured the safety of newborn children. Images of Bes were often placed in tombs for both reasons. They ensured the deceased’s safety during rebirth into the next world, a main function of Egyptian tombs.

Bes had a lion’s head and mane and wore a feather headdress. The spots on this figurine suggest the leopard skin Bes sometimes wore.
MEDIUM Faience
  • Place Collected: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1075-656 B.C.E.
    PERIOD Third Intermediate Period
    DIMENSIONS 7 1/2 x 2 7/8 x 5/8 in. (19.1 x 7.3 x 1.6 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Pale green faience figure of Bes, standing and wearing high feather headdress. He is suckling a child (or ape?). Seated ape below child and standing ape on each side of crown. Reverse, lion tail and (above) seated gazelle. Bes stands on papyrus capital. Entire figure decorated with brown spots and some details painted brown. Condition: Broken and assembled across face. Base probably complete. Glaze somewhat worn on obverse.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Figure of Bes with Child, ca. 1075-656 B.C.E. Faience, 7 1/2 x 2 7/8 x 5/8 in. (19.1 x 7.3 x 1.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 08.480.4. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.08.480.4_emagic.jpg)
    IMAGE installation, Egyptian Magic Installation (2008), CUR.08.480.4_emagic.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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