PHOENICIAN POTTERY WINE PITCHER DEPICTING “BES”
Iron Age II, 900 - 586 BC
“RARE” Ancient Phoenician “Iron Age II” single handle Jug bearing the face of the Egyptian god BES.
Bes was one of the most important gods of ancient Egypt.
He was portrayed as looking fierce and threatening, in order to ward off bad luck and evil. Before being given the name ‘Bes’, he was known as the demonic ‘Aha’, or fighter. He was thought to be able to strangle bears, lions, and snakes with his bare hands.
He was often depicted on household items such as beds, chairs, mirrors, and walls. Bes protected the home, and the people of ancient Egypt would honor him in the hope of family protection.
Bes was not just associated with fierceness, but also entertainment, laughter, and happiness. He was thought to please and entertain children with singing and dancing, and is therefore depicted as both happy and jovial.
One of the most common depictions of Bes were jars decorated with his face. If a child were ill, milk would be given to them in one of these Bes jars. It was believed that the milk would turn to medicine and protect the child. If the child didn’t get well though, of course a doctor would be called. It was then not uncommon for the physician to offer medicine out of a Bes jar.The final form of Bes jars came during the Roman period. Bes jars were no longer delegated to only children. Soldiers, believing that they were vulnerable, just like a child, often drank their beer rations out of Bes jars in hopes of protection from attacks.
Height: 26 cm
Width: 14.5 cm
Height on stand: 28 cm
Found in Hebron south of Jerusalem, Holy Land
Condition: Good condition as found
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