A Life of Ease

Part of the Petra exhibition.

Vase with panther-shaped handles

Petra's wealthy inhabitants lived in enviable luxury. Recent excavations have uncovered a sprawling Nabataean villa with Roman-style painted and stuccoed walls. The Nabataean genius for water management insured that the palatial home had running water and sophisticated plumbing. It was almost surely surrounded by landscaped gardens and fountains.

Detail of vase

For opulent fittings appropriate to such lavish accommodations, Petra's residents sought the skills of master craftsmen from around Nabataea and beyond. Precious objects from around the ancient world arrived in Petra to satisfy the tastes of its merchant princes.