26 – Relief of Bes Dancing

Relief with Bes Dancing. Romano-Egyptian, 30 BCE-100 CE. The dwarflike Egyptian god Bes was a protector of women and the household. Here his face is both humorous and frightful, with bushy eyebrows and a protruding tongue. His oversize phallus emphasizes his role in warding off evil while stressing virility. The dynamic contortion of Bes’s pose derives from Greek models rather than traditional Egyptian images, and his appearance in this relief recalls paintings of dancing dwarfs found in Pompeii.

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