A rare Egyptian male deity, made from tamarisk, a wood indigenous to Egypt, thought to date from either the New Kingdom of ancient Egypt, the middle of the 18th Dynasty (1580-1370BC), or a little later, 1400- 730BC. The British Museum Society has bought the figure for the Department of Egyptian Antiquities, at the British Museum, in London, as part of its policy of raising funds for acquisitions for the museum. The figure is considered rare and unusually large for its type - it is about 26.5cm high. With a lion's head, protruding tongue and a squat, dwarf-like body, it might be Bes, a god who frightened off evil spirits and protected the household and women in childbirth.

The society, formed 25 years ago, is the 'Friends' organisation of the British Museum and has in its lifetime given over pounds 500,000 to the work of the museum. Last year, it contributed some pounds 80,000, helping collecting projects such as contemporary drawings, and buying or helping to buy such objects as 48 Anglo-Saxon silver coins from Burrow Hill, Suffolk, and the Corbridge lanx, a Romano-British silver picture plate, found in Northumberland.

The society has over 9,000 members, who receive the quarterly British Museum Magazine and enjoy free entry to the museum's exhibitions, including private views. The museum has an evening opening, free for members, on the first Tuesday of every month, from 6pm to 9pm. War and Peace is the theme of the opening on Tuesday 6 July: lectures and talks will be given on the Egyptian, Syrian and Greek collections, while the British Museum and Library Singers will entertain with madrigals and love-songs.

On Tuesday 3 August, the society celebrates its 25th anniversary with jazz music in the galleries and talks on Lord Elgin and the marbles, and Giovanni Belzoni, a 19th-century circus strongman who became an Egyptologist, and whose head of Rameses II now belongs to the museum. During the summer there will be a season of behind-the-scene visits with museum curators, from each of the 10 academic departments: scientific research, medieval and later antiquities, Greek and Roman antiquities (a visit to the museum's cast store), prehistoric and Romano-British antiquities, coins and medals, ethnography (at the Museum of Mankind), conservation, oriental antiquities, Egyptian antiquities, and Western Asiatic antiquities. These are for society members and must be booked in advance.

For further information about the British Museum Society, contact: The British Museum Society, British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG, telephone 071- 323 8605.

(Photograph omitted)

Traid Exchange is a charity promoting Third World development through fair trade. It provides free advice to struggling community-based businesses in developing countries in East Africa and South and South-east Asia. Since forming in 1986 it has helped a beekeepers' co-operative in Tanzania, a tailoring group in Calcutta and a network of handicraft producers in Manila. Its current project is helping the T'boli tribespeople in the Philippines: their way of life has been undermined by commercial mining and logging enterprises and their only hope of survival is by producing traditional handicrafts, in an ecologically sustainable and economically viable way. The charity needs some pounds 20,000 pa to help the tribespeople set up business structures and to market their products in the West.

Traid Exchange, Kingsway, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, NE1 0NE, telephone 091-491 0591.

The Infinitely Adaptable Opera Company has been launched to take opera to people who do not usually get the chance of seeing it - including people with mental and physical disabilities. The company welcomes singers and musicians with disabilities, aiming to integrate them with able-bodied people by joint participation in a production: two blind singers have joined the company. It aims to produce performances of a high enough standard to attract both the newcomer and the most knowledgeable opera-goer; and plans for one production each year, starting with short, light pieces and progressing to larger, longer performances. On Tuesday 15 June the company will stage a double bill - of The Telephone, written by Giancarlo Menotti in 1946, and The Answerphone, its sequel, by Danny and Katie Kingshill - at the Royal National Institute for the Blind, at Armitage Hall, 224 Great Portland Street, London W1N 6AA. Tickets, priced pounds 3, will be available at the door. For further information:

The Infinitely Adaptable Opera Company, 38a Duncan Terrace, London N1 8AL, telephone 071-359 7866.

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