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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Demon God Protector of Egypt at the NY Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, Denmark, May 20 - October 31, 2021

 Say the words ‘Egyptian gods’ and it is usually the sun god Ra, Anubis god of the dead or the goddess Isis that spring to mind. These gods were closely associated with the Pharaoh and the upper echelons of Egyptian society. But in ancient Egypt, it was the demon gods that were inextricably linked to the everyday life of Egyptians. The most important of these was Bes, who provided protection against all manner of ills and ailments in ancient Egypt.

“The exhibition isn’t just a story about the popular, multifaceted deity Bes, whom very few people today know. Bes provides a unique insight into how the people in general lived, and into the thought and faith of ancient Egypt”, says the Egyptologist and exhibition curator Tine Bagh. “Throughout history, humankind has sought safety and security. In today’s Denmark we have a welfare system to look after us. In ancient Egypt they had Bes.”

Bes is easily recognisable. He has short, stumpy legs, his tongue pokes out of his mouth, his beard resembles a lion’s mane and he has a feathered ornament on his head. Bes was part of people’s lives at all levels of ancient Egyptian society - a feature in the homes of both pharaohs and slaves. He protected people against diseases, took care of children and pregnant women, warded off snake bites and had the power to scare away enemies.

The exhibition invites visitors into Bes’s universe, where magic and the belief in gods and demons were a natural part of life. The exhibition takes us into Egyptian homes, where Bes played an indispensable role in everyday life. He appeared on beds, cosmetic containers, mirrors, so-called ‘Bes jars’ and magic wands.

Read more about it: https://mailchi.mp/3b8f75614578/new-special-exhibiton-bes-2021

Please note that you must present a corona passport with proof of a negative COVID-19 test (antigen or PCR), taken no more than 72 hours prior to your arrival. Alternatively, visitors can also present proof that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or that they recovered from a bout of corona within the past 180 days. Face masks or visors must be worn in the museum.

Images: I couldn't find any images of exhibit objects on the museum website yet so here is a selection of objects featuring images of Bes I and others have taken in other venues:



Egyptian relief depicting Bes and Beset, 664-332 BCE, at the Louvre Museum in Paris, courtesy of the museum.

Stela of the God Bes, 4th century BCE - 1st century CE at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, courtesy of the museum.

Bes Furniture Detail Egyptian Blue Ptolemaic Period Egypt that I photographed at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, California.

Mirror Support in the form of Bes Egypt Late Period-Ptolemiac Period Faience that I photographed at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

Horsehair fly whisk with gold lion handle, chariot yoke saddles with god Bes, and chariot check rowell King Tutankhamun 18th dynasty New Kingdom Egypt 1332-1323 BCE that I photographed at the Discovery of King Tut exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland, Oregon.

Reproduction of a protective sculpture of the god Bes on one of King Tut's six chariots 18th dynasty New Kingdom Egypt that I photographed at the Discovery of King Tut exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland, Oregon.

Bell in the form of Bes, 332-30 BCE, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, courtesy of the museum.

Relief of the god Bes next to the Roman north gate of the temple complex of Dendera, Egypt, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons contributor Olaf Tausch.

Bronze relief of Bes, 2nd century BCE at the Louvre Museum in Paris, courtesy of the museum.

Bronze statue of Bes, 664-610 BCE at the Louvre Museum courtesy of Wikimedia Commons contributor Aoineko (with glare on the right side and base of the artifact removed)

Fresco from the Temple of Isis in Pompeii depicting the Egyptian god Bes, protector of women and children, North wall of Sacrarium, Naples National Archaeological Museum courtesy of Carole Raddato.


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