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 Museum Explorer

Gods and spirits in
Ancient Egypt

Bes playing a tambourine

Height: 28.000 cm

EA 20865

Bes playing a tambourine

From: Thebes, Egypt
Date: 18th Dynasty, around 1300 BC

The god Bes looked after the home. He is usually shown as an ugly person, with a large head and short legs. In this little statue he is playing a tambourine with his tongue stuck out. The Egyptians thought that pulling faces, dancing and being noisy also stopped evil forces getting too close.

However, Bes's most important job was to protect mothers and babies during the dangerous time of childbirth. A clay figure of Bes would be placed over the head of a woman who was giving birth. A spell would then be repeated four times over it.