Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Necklace with Head of Bes

Bes is a household god who was painted on the walls of homes and is depicted on amulets and other objects used in daily life, such as beds and mirrors. He is known as a protector of women, especially during childbirth, and is associated with music and dance. He is dwarf-like in his appearance and often appears as a small, bent figure with a large head. His head alone is frequently presented on amulets, as in the central amulet on this necklace. The full-faced orientation of the head is typical of images intended to ward off evil.

Necklace with Head of Bes
Ptolomaic period, 2nd–1st century BC
L. 18 3/8 in. (46.7 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Burton Y. Berry Collection, 69.107.9A