Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Bes standing on a papyriform capital, Beset on opposite side

Late Period–Ptolemaic Period
664–30 B.C.
From Egypt
Cupreous metal
H. 9.3 cm (3 11/16 in.); W. 2.7 cm (1 1/16 in.); D. 2.3 cm 7/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Funds from Various Donors, 1958
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 134
Bes and his wife Beset appear on opposite sides of this element. Bes is nude and has his typical semi-leonine countenance and protruding tongue. Beset holds the same stance and also wears a feather crown, but she has a less animal-like and less exaggerated face, and is clothed in the so-called Isis-garment, knotted between her breasts, that comes into use in the Ptolemaic Period.

Beset is a much older figure, but becomes particularly popular in the Ptolemaic Period. Basically she shares Bes's protective and apotropaic functions.

Figures of Bes sometimes appear on independent columns, on the handle of a sistrum, or of a mirror. This element has fittings at both top and bottom.
Purchased by the museum from Leonard Epstein, New York, 1958. Previously collection of Albert Eid, Cairo.

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