Cosmetic Container in the Form of a Bes-image

Period: Late Period

Dynasty: Dynasty 27

Date: 525–404 B.C.

Geography: From Egypt

Medium: Faience

Dimensions: 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: 1989.281.94


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.