My Favorite Thing Gladys Chenel on the Egyptian god that oversees her home.

My Favorite Thing Gladys Chenel on the Egyptian god that oversees her home.

  • Words George Upton
  • Photography Alixe Lay

We came across this sculpture of the Egyptian god Bes at a sale in America about 20 years ago. He’s quite unusual. Bes was worshipped as the protector of the household and depictions of him are normally quite small. This one, however, was made by the Romans in the 1st century B.C.E. It’s sculpted in nenfro, a kind of lava, which means it’s surprisingly light and contrasts with his heavy, cartoonlike expression. 

We had acquired the sculpture for our gallery but my husband and I came to fall in love with it. I was secretly quite happy when it didn’t sell. Since then it has become part of the family. It’s the piece that we have owned for the longest and the first object we find a home for when we have moved house. At the moment, it’s in the dining room but in our last apart...

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