Mould-made amuletic pendant in glazed composition, representing the head of the dwarf leonine god Bes; relatively fine modelling of the features, with thick lips, protruding eyes and beard detailed by fine vertical incisions; flat plain back; pierced widthwise at top of head, for suspension; this hole, partially preserved, probably once at base of crown (missing); light greenish turquoise glaze with added dark brown glaze for eyes, hair and a little on the beard; white paste; chipped and worn in places, especially at ears; abraded and discolored oval patch on base probably due to the amulet once having been glued to a base in modern times.
- Production date
- 664 BC - 332 BC
Height: 1.80 centimetres
Width: 1.60 centimetres
Depth: 1.85 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Marked '50' in pencil on back. Findspot 'cemetery' is recorded in the 1975 register based on old label.
Neither from the documentation in Dundee nor from the EEF distribution lists does it become clear when the objects from Naukratis (and Tell Dafana) entered the Museum, as neither of the sites is mentioned in them. Objects in the McManus Galleries were (re-)registered in 1975 after the loss of the original registers (some of which were later recovered). According to the museum's yearly Reports, the Galleries received objects from the EEF in 1888, 1889/90, 1892 (not all Reports were available to us for consultation), and every year from 1900 until 1914, but these donations are usually not recorded in the registers. Donations were made either directly by the EEF (1889/90 and 1914), per Amelia Edwards (1888 and 1889/90), or per the local secretaries of the EEF: Rev. Colin Campbell (1892 until 1905), Mr. J. Maclauchlan (1906), and Mr. A.H. Millar (1907-1913). Additional donations were made by the British School of Archaeology in Egypt in 1914.
Gardner indicated the discovery of small amulets of Bes, in bone and faience, in two or three graves at Naukratis (Gardner 1888, 29).
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. Moulds for Bes head were discovered at the site (Petrie 1886, pl. XXXVIII, 14): see for example BM 1888,0601.747 and BM 1920,0417.2.
For quite similar amuletic pendants from Naukratis: Bristol, City Art Gallery & Museum H1042.4; Oxford, Ashmolean Museum AN1896-1908-EA.863.
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.
Gardner, E. A. 1888, Naukratis. Part II (Sixth Memoir of the Egypt Exploration Fund), 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
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 1975-88 (Accession Number)