Pottery vessel

Accession Number
Current Location
House of Death (ground floor), Domestic piety case
Object Type
Receptacle/vessel, Vase
Graeco-Roman Period
Ptolemaic Period
Height: 132mm | Width: 89mm | Depth: 88mm
Number of Elements
Divine Name

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A pottery vessel made of marl clay, with a stylised depiction of the god Bes. Such vessels have been found in Palestine as well as in Egypt. This example dates to the Ptolemaic Period. While their exact function is unknown, it has been suggested that such vessels contained wine or milk to be drunk at festivals. It is believed that this type of vessel was probably made in a single workshop at Saqqara. Bes was a protective deity connected with women in childbirth and children. He is usually depicted as a dwarf, with a lion’s mane, and often with his tongue sticking out. W1283 seems to have been part of the famed collection of the Reverend William MacGregor (1848–1937), which was sold in 1922. . Kaiser believes that this type of vessel was probably made in a single workshop at Saqqara.


Anonymous. 1996. The face of Egypt: Swansea Festival exhibition: 5 October 1996–5 January 1997. Swansea: Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. [Cat. 44] For similar jars, see Arnold and Bourriau (1993) fig. 100f and Bubenheimer-Erhart (2005) 534. Arnold, Dorothea and Janine Bourriau (eds) 1993. An introduction to ancient Egyptian pottery. Sonderschrift, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Abteilung Kairo 17. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern. Bubenheimer-Erhart, Friederike 2005. Einflüsse Ägyptens in Etrurien (Kat. 89–98). In Beck, Herbert, Peter C. Bol, and Maraike Bückling (eds), Ägypten Griechenland Rom: Abwehr und Berührung, 154–162, 530–536. Frankfurt am Main: Das Städel. Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie. 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.