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HOME : Egyptian Antiquities : Masterpieces of Egyptian Art : Limestone Relief Panel Depicting Bes
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Limestone Relief Panel Depicting Bes - X.0137
Origin: Egypt
Circa: 2 nd Century AD
Dimensions: 10.75" (27.3cm) high
Collection: Egyptian
Medium: Limestone


Location: Great Britain
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Description
The grinning dwarf god Bes was one of the most popular deities in the Egyptian pantheon, one whose worship was absorbed almost intact into Hellenistic culture. He was a popular subject for amulets, and part of his appeal appears to have been the perception that he was more accessible and willing to listen to the common man than were the intimidating national gods such as Amun, Osiris, or Horus. In addition to being a patron god of music and art, Bes was believed to protect mankind from all evil and malevolence and thus is a fitting subject for amulets. He was also held to be a protector of pregnant women, amusing them during childbirth so that they forget the pain. Bes is usually depicted as a dwarf with a face that is both leonine and human. Here, he is represented nude squatting down with bent knees, brandishing a sword in his raised right hand and clenching a snake in his lowered left hand, as if about to decapitate this serpent. He is shown with his characteristic leonine beard and plumed headdress. Created during the Roman Period, when the Emperors of Rome ruled over the land of Egypt, this impressive relief panel is a testament to the popularity of Bes during this period of heavy Classical influence. - (X.0137)

 

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