An Egyptian Blue Faience Bes Amulet, Late Period, ca. 664 - 332 BCE
Of a rich blue color, the protector god is portrayed as a nude dwarf on an integrated base. His large feather crown surmounts grotesque facial features, with protruding tongue and the ears and mane of a lion. Shown standing on bandy legs with his hands on either side of his protruding belly, his tail between his legs, and pierced horizontally for attachment/suspension.
Background: This dwarf-like, protective deity was very popular in ancient Egypt. Known as early as the Middle Kingdom (ca. 2000 BC), 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 and Greco-Roman periods. He also had a special relation to the goddess Hathor and performed in her retinue as a musician and dancer.
Dimensions: Height: 1 3/8 inches (3.5 cm)
Condition: A small chip to the upper left edge that does not detract, overall in good condition.
Provenance: Private Maryland collection of a diplomat, acquired while serving in Egypt between 1949 and 1956, and then by descent.
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