Cameo with head of the Egyptian god Bes

Imperial Period
1st–3rd century A.D.


Overall: 1.9 x 1.9 cm (3/4 x 3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Anne and Blake Ireland Gallery (Gallery 210A)


Jewelry, The Ancient World



Brown on white on brown layered onyx. Cameo. Head of Bes, fully frontal. Bes is an Egyptian god associated with dance, health, fertility, and magic. He is bearded and wears a headdress with plumes. The protruding tongue is a feature particularly characteristic of Hellenistic and Roman depictions of Bes. There are chips along the top edge of the cameo.


By date unknown: Count Michel Tyszkiewicz Collection; 1898: auction of the M. Tyszkiewicz Collection, Hotel des Commissaires-Priseurs, 9 rue Drouot, Paris, June 8-10, lot 271 (said to have been found in the Fayum); 1898: with Edward Perry Warren; 1898: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren for $ 69,618.13 (this figure is the total price for MFA 98.641-98.940)

Credit Line

Henry Lillie Pierce Fund