Finger Ring With Bes Images

56.20.576

On display

The oval bezel of this gold stirrup-shaped ring is decorated with two schematically rendered images of the dwarf-god, Bes, flanked by crudely formed ankh signs. Both images of Bes show him wearing an extremely wide flaring headdresses and carrying knives in each hand. Other knives possibly project from their feet. The purported findspot of this gold stirrup-shaped ring, the royal tomb of Akhenaten at Amarna, would provide clear evidence of its date. Unfortunately, the early history has been reconstructed from hearsay and, despite some scholars’ acceptance of the story linking the ring to Akhenaten’s intended burial place, such claims cannot be inclusively proven. Nevertheless, the presence of two Bes images in the same figure scene does narrow considerably the range of possible dates for the ring. Pairs of figures appear only during two New Kingdom reigns, those of Amenhotep III and his son Akhenaten. It’s previous owner, Sir Henry Rider Haggard, believed the ring was once worn by Queen Tiye, who was described as “the feminine Henry VIII of Egypt” in a 1892 interview with Haggard in ‘The Strand Magazine’. Haggard wore the ring for a year but broke it getting out of a cab. The ring was then repaired and kept with some others inside a tiny silver Icelandic communion open cup, in Henry Haggard’s billiard room at Ditchingham House, Norfolk. Height of bezel: 10 mm; width of bezel: 17 mm; internal diam. of hoop: 17 mm; depth (front to back) 20 mm.