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The Art of the Nabataeans

The art of the Nabataeans can be explored in several fields: architecture, sculpture, and pottery.

Sculpture of the Nabataeans

In the story of the Nabataean sculpture you can clearly see the story of art in the region, it goes back to the stone age, as well as the mythology and philosophy, people in this region used to make very delicate sculptures, so simple and carrying so much expression at the same time. The Nabataeans for example were known to sculpt their idols in the simplest way imaginable- a cube, the name of one of their goddesses Ka'bo, means 'the cube'.

They later added some realistic elements to their abstract forms, such as an equally abstract pair of eyes and a nose, and later even more complicated decorative elements started to take over. After some time and resistance of the influence coming from Greece and Rome, Romans with their enormous armies and realistic sculptures, invaded what we now know as the Middle East, and eventually even Petra fell.

  Nabataean Gods in the Siq
Even after the Roman influence on their sculpture, it is easy to see the last efforts to hold onto their own form of the art. In the newer realistic sculptures, they would mold the hair, the beard and the clothes in the old, beautiful, abstract and yet simple way representative of their previous artistic history.
a sculpture from the old museum
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