Cosmetic Container in the Form of a Bes-image, Faience

Cosmetic Container in the Form of a Bes-image

Late Period
Dynasty 27
525–404 B.C.
From Egypt
h. 9.2 cm (3 5/8 in); w. 4.4 cm (1 3/4 in); d. 3.9 cm (1 9/16 in)
Credit Line:
Gift of Norbert Schimmel Trust, 1989
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 127
This squat human form with leonine features is commonly identified as the god Bes, but several other minor Egyptian gods were also represented by this image. These were protective deities, so they appear frequently as apotropaic figures in the decoration of furniture and personal belongings. Here, the god stands holding the cap of a kohl container, which has a small round hole in the top for insertion of an applicator. The container, which is now missing, was detachable so that it could be refilled easily.
Collection of Norbert Schimmel, by 1974; previously Omar Sultan Pasha Collection (d. 1929 or before). Donated to the Museum by the Norbert Schimmel Trust, 1989. Published in the MMA Bulletin, Spring 1992.

Settgast, Jürgen 1978. Von Troja bis Amarna: The Norbert Schimmel Collection, New York. New York: P. von Zabern, no. 241.

Mertens, Joan, Catharine H. Roehrig, Marsha Hill, Elizabeth J. Milleker, and Oscar White Muscarella 1992. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, new ser., vol. 49, no. 4 (Spring), New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 33–34.