- Museum number
Terracotta mask or read from a figurine of a horned creature similar to the Babylonian Humbaba but probably representing Bes; hollow mould-made body; perforated for suspension below each ear and between the stumps of the horns; the figure has cat-line ears, a grimacing expression baring the teeth and (originally) twisted horns; prominent wrinkles above the eyes and on the face and chin; made of orange-buff clay, fired grey on the interior with white inclusions; decorated with black and purple paint.
- Production date
Height: 17.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- The mask has previously been interpreted as the Mesopotamian monster Humbaba/Huwawa but it morely represents a local version of the iconography of the Egyptian god Bes who on Cyprus is depicted with horns (Karageorghis 1990, 3-6; Hermary 1986). This is particularly common at Amathus where numerous examples of large-scale stone sculptures of 'Cypriot Bes' have been found (surveyed in Tassignon 2013). As with the hybrid Herakles-Reshef imagery employed elsewhere on the island during the Cypro-Archaic and Cypro-Classical periods (Counts 2013), the type evokes a male divinity associated with the control of nature, specifically of lions but also of other wild beasts. For the group of terracottas found in Tomb 83, see Hermary 1996.
Counts D. 2008, 'Master of the Lion: Representation and hybridity in Cypriote sanctuaries', AJA 112/1, 3-27/
Hermary A. 1986, 'Bes (Cypri et in Phoenicia)', LIMC III, 108-12.
Hermary A. 1996, 'Figurines en terre cuite des fouilles anglaises d'Amathonte (1893-1894)', CCEC 26 (1996/2), 13-21.
Karageorghis V. 1990, 'Notes on some terracotta masks from Amathus now in the British Museum', Rivista di Studi Fenici XVIII.
Tassignon I. 2013, Le « Seigneur aux Lions » d’Amathonte. Étude d’iconographie et d’histoire des religions des statues trouvées sur l’agora. Études Chypriotes XVII (Athens).
- On display (G72/dc4)
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number