Bes, Small God in Ancient Egypt, and archaeological collection; Allard Pierson Museum, Amsterdam

Bes pillar, sandstone, Meroe, 1st century AD

As i visited Amsterdam for some serious business (of which i will report later) i also took the chance to see the Allard Pierson Museum there, which contains  different collections of the University of Amsterdam.

Horus falcon in military uniform, limestone, Roman Period, after 30 BC

Presently there is an exhibition about the Egyptian god Bes.

Bes with sword and serpent and Beset with tambourine, limestone, Ptolemaic Period, 302-30 BC

Bes, sometimes together with his wife Beset, was a god who was helpful in all kinds of aspects of daily life and he was also a deity to have fun with.

Tutu as a sphinx and Bes on its breast, limestone, Roman Period, after 30 BC

He was small and a bit corpulent, with a big bearded, sometimes even lion-like head.

Bes and Beset, limestone, Ptolemaic Period, 302-30 BC

That was a bit problematic for the very strict classical Egyptian aesthetics and it is interesting to see how they managed to represent him through the ages.

Bes, limestone, Ptolemaic Period, 302-30 BC
Woman in childbirth, terracotta, Roman Period, after 30 BC

Quite a lot of different aspects of Bes are paid attention to.

The Emperor Augustus, plaster cast, Roman

Apart from Bes i visited the permanent archaeological collection of the museum.

A copy of Praxiteles’s famous sculpture, originally Greek, 4th century BC
Painted mummy mask, stucco, Egyptian, Ptolemaic Period 2nd century BC

It has some copies of famous classical sculpture, and fine originals too.

Amazon, Roman copy, 2nd cent. AD, of a Greek original, 440 BC
Drinking bowl with choir of satyrs, pottery, Athens, 560-550 BC
Drinking bowl, pottery, Athens, 525-475 BC

These are just a few examples.

Hercules and the Cercopes, plaster cast of a metope, Greco-Sicilian, 550 BC

© Villa Next Door 2020

Contents of all photographs courtesy to the Allard Pierson Museum, Amsterdam.

Bertus Pieters


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.