Figure of the God Bes
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
The unusual frontal attitude, extended tongue, and feathered headdress of the leonine god Bes offer a powerful image of protection. This terrifying deity was believed to guard worshippers during the most vulnerable moments of pregnancy and childbirth, and in the transition between life and death.
ca. 945-712 B.C.E., or later
Third Intermediate Period
6 7/8 x 3 5/8 x 7/8 in. (17.5 x 9.2 x 2.3 cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
Large blue and black glazed figure of the god Bes. The piece is glazed blue with the details rendered in black. The piece is rather flat although modeled on both front and rear surfaces. The god wears his feathered headdress which is pierced, from front to rear, with four holes for attachment or suspension. On his shoulders were monkeys (now mostly missing). Between his legs, and rendered in relief, is another small Bes figure. On the rear of the feathered headdress a bound antelope is rendered in relief.
Condition: Mended from three pieces. Legs missing. Monkeys mostly missing from shoulders. Much of right arm missing. Small chip in leg of smaller Bes figure.
This item is not on view
Figure of the God Bes, ca. 945-712 B.C.E., or later. Faience, 6 7/8 x 3 5/8 x 7/8 in. (17.5 x 9.2 x 2.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.309E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.309E_transp6128.jpg)
overall, 37.309E_transp6128.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Could you tell me how faience was made?
Faience is a man-made mixture of "ground quartz or quartz-sand held together by and alkaline binder. The bright and shiny surface
seen on this figurine is a result of glazing. The glaze was made of a form of powdered glass mixed with a liquid and applied either with a brush or by dipping the entire figurine.
It gets it's blue color from copper that is mixed into or applied to the surface of the quartz body before firing.