Egyptian Amarna Bes with kohl vase




A rare and fine fragmentary burnt steatite kohl vessel in the form of the god Bes holding a double-handled wine jar. The wine jar is decorated with multiple rows of incised bands and has two small piercings at the rim for attaching a lid. The figure of Bes is shown with powerful musculature and pronounced ribs, he wears a short kilt decorated with a pair of Udjat Eyes on the rear.
The body of the figure is hollowed vertically, probably for the insertion of wood or ivory kohl sticks which would have protruded from the top of the head like a plumed crown.

Egypt, 18th Dynasty; probably Amarna, reign of Akhenaten, c. 1351-1334 BC

Fragment as shown, mounted on a painted wood display stand

7 x 7.4 cms, 12 cms including stand

Ex. private estate, London, UK; formerly acquired by family descent. The collection was probably formed between c. 1880-1920.

Mounted on a painted wood display stand

For another vessel in serpentine, possibly from the same workshop, also depicting Bes holding a wine jar shaped container: please see The State Museum for Egyptian Art, Munich, Germany; AS4868. (Dated to the 18th Dynasty, c. 1300 BC)

For a figure of Bes with very similar modelling, particularly in the portrayal of the arm muscles, please see: City of Akhenaten, Frankfort and Pendlebury, 1933, volume II, plate XXXVIII