The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of July 1, 2016

Cosmetic Jar in the Form of the God Bes, 664-525 BC

Egyptian blue, Overall: 9.30 x 6.10 x 4.10 cm (3 5/8 x 2 3/8 x 1 9/16 inches). Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1995.13

Both ancient Egyptian men and women loved cosmetics. Unguents, oils, and perfumes made from aromatic plant resins and gums were obtained at great cost from distant lands. The objects identified with cosmetics were given lavish treatment. The luxurious obsidian and gold beaker hints at the precious contents it once held. Others are fanciful in form, such as an ostrich egg. The god Bes, patron god of cosmetics, himself is the subject of a colorful jar. The delicately carved human face and the head of a giraffe decorated elaborate ivory cosmetic spoons.

The Cleveland Museum of Art (5/10/98 - 7/5/98); Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design (8/25/98 - 1/3/99); Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth (1/31/99 - 4/25/99). "Gifts of the Nile: Ancient Egyptian Faience," exh. cat. no. 73, color repr. p. 109; p. 209, repr. p. 209.

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