Statuette of Bes standing on a frog - ROM2018_16121_1


Statuette of Bes standing on a frog

Medium:Bronze, cast and incised
Geography: Undetermined site, Egypt
Date: c. 664-332 BC
Period: 26th-30th Dynasty, Late Period
5.7 x 1.8 cm
Object number: 910.17.11
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

This little image represents the cheerful god Bes, standing, most unusually, standing on a frog. Bes is associated with music and joyful noise. That noise, along with his rather ugly face, frightened away the evil spirits who sought to take the lives of women in childbirth and their infants. (The goddess of childbirth, Heket, is often shown with the head of a frog, and that may explain the frog in this image.)  He had a generally positive role in sexuality and fertility. His images survive on the walls of bedrooms at the artists’ village of Deir el Medina, and on royal furnishings from tombs in the Valley of the Kings.

Though Bes had no temples or priesthood devoted entirely to his worship, he was extremely popular for his protection of the most vulnerable.  As well as ensuring the safety of women and children, he was a guardian of men away from home, and as such became extremely popular with Greek and Romans soldiers who lived in Egypt.

A single cylindrical tenon protrudes from his head; it once may have held his customary feathered headdress, or perhaps helped to attach this image to a piece of furniture.
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