Amulet of the God Bes

Period: Third Intermediate Period

Dynasty: Dynasty 21–24

Date: ca. 1070–712 B.C.

Geography: From Egypt

Medium: Faience

Dimensions: H. 3.7 cm (1 7/16 in)

Credit Line: Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926

Accession Number: 26.7.878


In ancient Egypt, several protective deities were depicted as dwarves featuring a lion's mane, ears, and tail, and often wearing a plumed headdress. Such gods are now referred to as the Bes image. The domain of the Bes image was the household. He averted evil with music, knives, or the sa sign as he watched over the occupants of the house. He was particularly protective of women and children, and over time this responsibility gave him a role in some temples when there was a birth house for the deity. Thus, amulets of the Bes image were worn on a regular basis.