HR Giger: The Spell i: appearance of Bes above Horus

Leading from

Giger's  The Spell I

The presence of a nude human, in Giger's work a woman, comes from the nude male Horus as a  child with Bes head above as a symbol of protection, mostly beneath an arch shape, known as the Cippus of Horus. The Horus figure has been shown carrying snakes in his hands. Perhaps these serpents have been used to form either side of the arching shape within Giger's painting

See examples below of various stele depicting Bes above Horus

Cippus of Horus, 664–30 B.C.The Metropolitan Museum of Art,
Green stone Horus on the Crocodiles dating the the Ptolemaic period. Horus stands naked on a pair of Crocodiles and is holding four snakes, two scorpions, a lion and a gazelle (how dangerous was a gazelle). Bes is above Horus and is protecting the house and its children. The household would pour water over the piece and drink the water as a form of protection.

Magic stela of Horus on the crocodlies ( Stèle magique d'Horus sur les crocodiles. Recto: Horus est figuré nu, de face, coiffé de la tresse de l'enfance, debout sur deux crocodiles croisés, la gueule dirigée vers le haut. L'enfant-dieu tient dans chaque main un scorpion et trois serpents dont un grand ondulant jusqu'au sommet du monument. L'ensemble est dominé par un masque du dieu Bès. Dans le champ, divers signes hiéroglyphiques. Verso: Le cintre est occupé par la représentation d'Isis allaitant Horus dans le fourré de Chemnis, dominée par le disque de Behedet, et flanquée à droite du dieu Thot ibiocéphale tenant un sceptre ouas. Au-dessous vient une suite de divinités dont le dieu Min ithyphallique, Horus de Hebenou, un scarabée Kheper et Patèque. Suit une inscription hiéroglyphique de sept lignes dont les trois premières donnent le texte A (M 103 - M 105) relatif à l'accident dont Horus fut victime dans les marais de Chemnis, et se poursuit par des répétitions de signes caractéristiques sans signification particulière. Les côtés, le sommet et la base sont également gravés de pseudoinscriptions. Calcaire gris. Égypte, Époque Ptolémaïque. H_15,5 cm L_10,7 cm Egyptian limestone stelae with Horus standing on crocodiles. Ptolemaic Period. 6,1 by 4,2 in. Provenance: Galerie Orient Occident, Paris. Les stèles d'Horus sur les crocodiles sont le reflet de la piété populaire à la fin de l'époque pharaonique. Apanage des magiciens-thérapeutes, elles doivent leur appellation au motif reproduit au verso: l'enfant-dieu debout sur des crocodiles. Réputées pour guérir des morsures de scorpions et de serpents, elles étaient, soit plongées dans de l'eau que le patient buvait et s'imprégnait des vertus des textes magiques et de l'image, soit frottées à l'emplacement de la blessure. Les textes gravés font allusion à la légende d'Osiris et d'Horus; ils sont souvent mal copiés par des artistes médiocres et certains sont des assemblages de bribes de texte accolées, de façon arbitraire, répétitive et inintelligible, désignés comme "pseudo-inscriptions". Les six serpents tenus par Horus sont peu courants sur ce type de monument; en général seuls quatre sont figurés. Cette particularité se retrouve sur une stèle conservée au musée Champollion de Figeac avec une disposition différente. Ici, les grands serpents ondulant jusqu'au sommet, peuvent être rapprochés d'autres oeuvres (Louvre E 8428, Berlin 10.264, Londres 49.747). Bibliographie comparative: A. Gasse, Stèles d'Horus sur les crocodiles, musée du Louvre, Paris, 2004. (Translation: Magic Stela of Horus on the crocodiles. Recto: Horus is featured naked, front, wearing the braid child standing on two crossed crocodiles mouth pointing up. The child-god holds in each hand a scorpion and three snakes including a large undulating to the top of the monument. The whole is dominated by a mask of the god Bes. In the field, various hieroglyphic signs. Verso: The hanger is occupied by the representation of Isis nursing Horus in the thicket of Chemnis dominated by disc Behedet, and flanked to the right of the god Thoth ibiocéphale holding a scepter ouas. Below is a series of deities whose ithyphallic god Min, Horus Hebenou, a scarab and Patèque Kheper. Follows a hieroglyphic inscription in seven lines of which the first three give the text A (M 103 - M 105) on which the accident victim was Horus in the marshes of Chemnis, and continues with rehearsals characteristic signs without special meaning. The sides, top and bottom are engraved pseudoinscriptions. Gray limestone. Egypt, Ptolemaic Period. H_15,5 L_10,7 cm cm limestone stelae with Egyptian Horus standing on crocodiles. Ptolemaic Period. 6.1 by 4.2 in. Provenance: Gallery East West, Paris. The stelae of Horus on the crocodiles reflect popular piety at the end of the Pharaonic era. Apanage magicians therapists, they have their name on the grounds overleaf: the child-god standing on crocodiles. Reputed to cure bites of scorpions and snakes, they were either immersed in water that the patient drank and permeated the virtues of magical texts and images, or rubbed on the site of the injury. Engraved texts refer to the legend of Osiris and Horus; they are often poorly copied by mediocre artists and some are text fragments of contiguous assemblages, arbitrarily, repetitive and unintelligible, designated as "pseudo-inscriptions". The six snakes kept by Horus are uncommon in this type of monument; usually only four are shown. This feature is found on a stele conserved Champollion museum in Figeac with a different layout. Here, large snakes undulating to the top, can be compared to other works (Louvre E 8428, 10264 Berlin, London 49 747). Comparative Bibliography: A. Gasse, Stele of Horus on the crocodiles, the Louvre, Paris, 2004.

Horusstele aus Schiefer, frühe Ptolemäerzeit, um 300 v. Chr.

 Cippus of a Horus as "Hor-sched", being watched over by
the god Bes. from the Roman Period. RC 2991.
(Rosicrucian Museum)

Ptolemaic Dynasty, 305-30 BCE
The central figure on this stele is the child form of the god Horus. He stands on the heads of two crocodiles, which cross each other beneath his feet and face out to the sides. In his left hand he clutches two serpents and a lion by the tail; in his right, two scorpions by the stingers and an oryx by the horns. Every flat surface on the stele is covered with magical hieroglyphic texts consisting of spells which protect against snakes, scorpions, and the other evil forces the god subdues.
This type of object was often set up in private households, but examples have also been found in tombs, suggesting that their protective powers could also be extended to the deceased.

Detail of Metternich stela, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York City.
The relief shows the child Horus trampling on crocodiles and holding two
serpents, two scorpions, an oryx, and a lion.

The top half of this stela was skillfully carved in the hard dark stone. On the part below the central figure panel, rows of hieroglyphs record thirteen magic spells to protect against poisonous bites and wounds and to cure the illnesses caused by them. The stela was commissioned by the priest Esatum to be set up in the public part of a temple. A victim could recite or drink water that had been poured over the magic words and images on the stela. As a mythic precedent, the hieroglyphic inscription around the base describes the magic cure that was worked upon the infant Horus by Thoth, the god of wisdom and writing.

On the stela Isis speaks and recounts that while she and Horus were still hiding in the marshes, the child became ill. In her despair, she cried for help to the "Boat of Eternity" (the sun boat in which the god travels over the sky), "and the sun disk stopped opposite her and did not move from his place." Thoth was sent from the sun boat to help Isis and cured Horus by reciting a catalogue of spells. The spells always ended with the phrase "and the protection of the afflicted as well," indicating that by using these spells, any type of affliction in human beings would be healed.

In this detail of the stela, Horus emerges from the background in such high relief that he is posed as an actual three-dimensional statue, with his left leg striding forward and his head directly facing the viewer. He is portrayed in the conventional Egyptian form for youth; that is, he is nude and wearing his hair in a side lock. The soft, rounded forms of the bodies of Horus and the other deities are typical of the style of the period.

To symbolize his magic powers, Horus holds snakes and scorpions as well as an antelope (by its horns) and a lion (by its tail) in his closed fists. His feet rest on two crocodiles. Above him is the head of Bes, the dwarf deity with leonine features who had traditionally protected households but by this time had become a more general protective deity. Horus is flanked by three deities who stand upon coiled snakes. On the right is Thoth, identified by his ibis head, and on the left is Isis. Both protectively hold the walls of a curved reed hut, a primeval chapel, in which the Horus child stands together with a figure of Re-harakhty, god of the rising sun, and two standards in the form of papyrus and lotus columns. The lotus standard supports the two feathers of Osiris's headdress.

The images incised into the stone at the top of the stela portray the perilous nighttime journey of the sun as it passes through the nether world under the earth. Its rebirth each morning is shown at the uppermost point of the stela, where Thoth, four baboons, and the kneeling King Nectanebo II lift their arms in the gesture of adoration and prayer. Nectanebo II was the last indigenous king of ancient Egypt. He struggled valiantly against the Persian empire only to be defeated in the end. After the lost battle, he fled to Upper Egypt, and nothing is known about his end.

Illusttration of the Metternich stela, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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