Limestone Head of Bes

Culture: Egyptian
Period: Ptolemaic Period, 332-30 B.C.
Material: Limestone
Dimensions: 15.5 cm x 15 cm
Price: Sold
Ref: 1088
Provenance: Former collection of Egyptologist Otto Wegener, Munich, 1950-1969. Christie’s auction on 25 November 1997, lot 145. Thence Cahn auction 2 on 21 September 2007, lot 160.
Condition: Some wear on mouth and nose, parts of the left eye lid restored (probably before the Gallery Cahn auction).
Description: Limestone head of the Egyptian god Bes. The grotesque face with the tongue sticking out, thick daggy beard, lion-like ears and wide open eyes. Contrary to the early depictions the already human like features are typical for the Hellenistic influence in the Greek-Roman period. Bes had an apotropaic function in households and temples. He protected against dangerous animals in the desert, such as snakes and scorpions. At the same time he was also worshiped as the god for conception and birth. He was considered as the protector for pregnant women and newborns. His depictions were usually found in bowers and on headboards (especially wedding beds). Since the head is flat and rounded at the back it was probably an architectural part in a Mammisi. In Greek-Roman period the decoration programme of Mammisis were extended with Bes depictions on the column capitals in the Pronaos. Excellent quality. Mounted.