Mould-made amuletic pendant in glazed composition, representing the head of the dwarf leonine god Bes; bearded, with protruding ears and a plumed headdress; quite roughly modelled; worn features; flat plain back; headdress pierced widthways for suspension; greenish turquoise glaze partly decayed and chipped in front, with some details (feathers, eyes, beard) roughly marked in brownish black glaze; whitish core; crack which must have appeared during the firing, is visible on the left side; almost complete, slightly chipped in places.
- Production date
- 664 BC - 525 BC (?)
Height: 2.60 centimetres
Length: 0.80 centimetres
Width: 1.85 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Object owned and held by World Museum, Liverpool. This record is included in the British Museum database as part of the Museum’s Naukratis Project, a research collaboration that aims to virtually re-unite finds from the ancient port city of Naukratis, now distributed over 80 museums worldwide.
As other deities involved in the protection of childhood and pregnancy, such as Taweret and Pataikos, Bes is very popular among Naukratis amulets (Masson forthcoming). His amulets were similarly widespread across Egypt in the later Dynastic period (Andrews 1994, 40) and in the Mediterranean world, (especially in the Late-early Ptolemaic periods: Herrmann et al., 69).
Amulets in the shape of Bes heads appear in the Third Intermediate Period (Andrews 1994, 40). They were produced in Naukratis itself. Amulet-moulds with impression of Bes head of small size (smaller than this specimen) were discovered at the site (Petrie 1886, pl. XXXVIII, 14): see for example BM 1888,0601.747 and BM 1920,0417.2.
Similar amulets probably from the same mould: Oxford, Ashmolean Museum AN1896-1908-EA.555 and AN1896-1908-EA.862. See another close type, also discovered in Naukratis, but slightly smaller in size: Bristol, City Art Gallery & Museum H1042.3.
On amulets of Bes in general see: Andrews 1994, 38-40; Herrmann et al. 2010, 69-73 (type 34).
Andrews, C. 1994, Amulets of Ancient Egypt, London.
Herrmann, C., Staubli, T., Berger-Lober, S., Keel, O., Schönbächler, G. 2010, 1001 Amulett : altägyptischer Zauber, monotheisierte Talismane, säkulare Magie, Bibel+Orient-Museum, Liebefeld, Stuttgart.
Masson, A. forthcoming, ‘Naukratis: Egyptian offerings in context’, in M. Bergeron and A. Masson (eds.), Naukratis in Context II: Cults, Sanctuaries and Offerings. Proceedings of the Second Naukratis Project Workshop held at The British Museum, 22nd-23rd June 2013.
Petrie, W.M.F. 1886, Naukratis. Part I., 1884–5 (third memoir of the Egypt Exploration Fund), London.
- Not on display
- Relatively poor, glaze very decayed, eroded
- Acquisition date
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 9,9,86,72 (Accession Number)