This green-blue glazed compisition figure of Bes was discovered at Abydos, and was originally made to be placed upon a ceremonial staff (cane). It currently resides in the British Museum (EA26267), although not on display. It dates from the 22nd Dynasty, c. 943-720 B.C. British Museum Curator: “Bes was the good-natured genie who drove away harmful forces at the moment of birth. The bound oryx symbolizes his dominion over them, which as a desert dwelling creature, was associated with the malevolent god Seth. However, he was connected not just with birth, but with the subsequent nurturing of the newborn infant represented here by the baby Bes cradles and the food he offers it. The frog and papyrus were both symbolic of new life. The vervet monkey was associated with sexuality and fertility, especially in the context of family love. Visually this object unites the themes of protection at the moment of birth, care and nurturing of the newborn baby and perpetuation of the family. The hole in the papyrus shaft was obviously for the insertion of a handle of some kind. There are also holes in the headdress, ears and monkeys’ faces, which might have held attachments. Perhaps the object was actually shaken like a sistrum to make a noise and drive away evil forces at birth or during nursing.” British Museum Curator: At the back, behind the headdress, is a hobbled oryx in high relief, its front legs bent under it. On this side of the piece Bes’ bandy legs and lion’s tail are clearly visible. The whole tableau is set on a three-dimensional papyrus column with short hollow shaft. Carving enhances various details of the piece and the bodies of Bes, the monkeys and the oryx have black mottling.
Green-blue glazed cane terminal in the form of Bes 22nd Dynasty, c.943-720 B.C. Abydos (?) British Museum. EA26267