Bes Jar

Accession Number

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A fragment of a Nile silt pottery jar with a depiction of the god Bes on the exterior. His face is created using four shallow horizontal lines for the forehead, with his eyebrows and eyelids formed by arches: five arches on the left and two on the right. The eyes are concave oval shapes, with smaller ovals inside to form the pupils. The nose is triangular, connected to a downcurved arch; the triangle and arch protrude from the surface (7mm). The tongue is sticking out under the nose, created by a semi-circle 25mm in length. Fragments of the outline of the face are preserved, created by a thick line (8mm), and on the top right an ear is preserved. The ear is a semi-circle attached to the face outline and 25mm in width. The surface of the vessel is covered in abrasions. The vessel was wheel-made, as is evident from the throwing marks on the interior. Throughout the matrix are limestone inclusions, each about 1mm in length and width. Such vessels probably contained wine or milk and date to the New Kingdom. This object was purchased by Sir Henry Wellcome in 1906 from the collection of Robert de Rustafjaell. Writing on the reverse, in blue, suggests that Rustafjaell collected the sherd from the site of Deir el-Medina. It was loaned to the Egypt Centre in 1971 as part of the distribution of the Wellcome collection.


Anonymous. 1996. The face of Egypt: Swansea Festival exhibition: 5 October 1996–5 January 1997. Swansea: Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. [Cat. 69] Kaiser, Kevin Robert 2006. Water, milk, beer and wine for the living and the dead: Egyptian and Syro-Palestinian Bes-vessels from the New Kingdom through the Graeco-Roman period. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Dissertation Services. Stevens, Anna 2006. Private religion at Amarna: the material evidence. BAR International Series 1587. Oxford: Archaeopress. [pp. 31–34]

Last modified: 27 Nov 2023

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