ancient egypt: history and culture
Ancient Egyptian deities: Bes
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also Bisu

    Egyptian dwarf god believed to guard against evil spirits and misfortune. In contrast to the other Egyptian deities, who were usually depicted in profile, Bes was depicted full face. He was shown to be ugly and grotesque in appearance, with a large head, protruding tongue, bow legs and a bushy tail. He bore a plumed crown and wore the skin of a lion or panther.
    His feather headress and lion skin are thought by some to point to a Sudanese origin, others dispute this conclusion and consider him to be an original Egyptian deity.

    Despite his appearance, he was a beneficent deity and his appearance was meant to scare off evil spirits. He bore swords and knives to ward off evil spirits, as well as musical instruments which he used to create a din which would frighten them off. Bes aided the hippopotamus goddess Taweret in childbirth. He was originally the protective deity of the royal house of Egypt, but came to be a popular household deity throughout Egypt.

    He is depicted as a musician in his temple at Denderah, where Hathor, the goddess of love and music, is also shown, playing a tambourine. There are reliefs of him in the Hathor shrine at Philae.

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