Skip Navigation

Headrest with Two Images of the God Bes

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
Headrests like this were used in life to support the head while sleeping. They are also found supporting a mummy’s head in the coffin. This headrest perhaps was made specifically for the tomb, since the offering prayer has been inscribed on the supporting column, or the prayer was added after the death of the owner.
  • Reportedly From: Saqqara, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1539–1190 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 18 to Dynasty 19
    PERIOD New Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 7 x 11 1/4 x 3 in. (17.8 x 28.6 x 7.6 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Wooden headrest made in three pieces; top, small central part of column, and base. The pieces are joined together by means of tenons and pegs. A rectangular plug of wood in the top appears to hide one tenon. The supporting column is fluted. On one side of the support is incised an inscription. At either end of the base is an incised representation of the god Bes. In one case he holds out an object in each hand. In the other representation he appears to hold what could be a schematic representation of a headrest. "An offering which the king gives to Maat for the ka-soul of the retainer, Peh-erw-aa(?)" Condition: Chipped and scratched; some holes, especially on top.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
    CAPTION Headrest with Two Images of the God Bes, ca. 1539–1190 B.C.E. Wood, 7 x 11 1/4 x 3 in. (17.8 x 28.6 x 7.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.435E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.435E_front_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE front, 37.435E_front_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
    You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.