Bes was the ancient Egyptian god of protection of pregnant women, newborn babies and the family. He was a dwarf wearing a lion's skin. Bes does not look like he is Egyptian. He is like gods found in other parts of Africa.
To scare away demons during birth, Bes would dance around the room, shaking his rattle and yelling to scare away demons that might put a curse on the child. After the child was born, Bes would stay by him/her. When a baby laughed or smiled for no reason, Egyptians believed that Bes was somewhere in the room making funny faces.
His name appears to be connected to a Nubian word for cat, besa, which literally means protector. Egyptians kept cats in order to attack snakes, and creatures that might ruin crop stores, such as mice, and so Bes was naturally singled out as worthy of worship in Egypt.
Images of the god were kept in homes to protect from evil and so he was shown quite differently from the other gods. Normally gods were shown in profile, but instead Bes appeared in portrait, and sometimes in a soldier's
tunic, so as to appear ready to launch an attack on any approaching evil.
In the New Kingdom,
tattoos of Bes could be found on the thighs of dancers, musicians and servant girls.
Like many Egyptian gods, the worship of Bes was exported overseas, and he was popular with the Phoenicians and the (ancient) Cypriots.