When I got married I chose to have henna applied to my hands and feet, and adorned myself with traditional Indian wedding jewelry. I have always been fascinated with the Middle Eastern, North African and Indian cultures which have mastered the art of mixing and applying henna to celebrate important life events. Henna is believed to bring the couple good luck in their marriage and though this was not my experience, it in no way diminished my appreciation of this beautiful art form.
Henna (Lawsonia inermis, also called mignonette tree) is a flowering plant used since antiquity to dye skin, hair, fingernails, leather and wool. The name is also used for dye preparations derived from the plant, and for the art of temporary tattooing based on those dyes. (Source: Wikipedia)
Henna is traditionally used to mark important life events such as marriage. When most people think of henna they recall the designs such as those in the photo below. This type of design is a "Bridal Mehndi" In the West we are most familiar with permanent tattooing of the skin as a form of expression of anything from the mercurial to a dangerous accounting of the number of people the individual has killed.
However, throughout the world there are many traditional rites of passage in which the skin is manipulated. In Africa, there is another more painful tradition of scarification; however, in regions throughout the world where Henna plants are grown and cultivated, women have used this plant for centuries to adorn themselves with exotic and beautiful designs, each as unique as the woman who wears them.
It is a beautiful art form and I have chosen a few photos of some of my favorite designs. Enjoy!
[slideshow]Follow Nahmias Cipher Report on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Editor: @ayannanahmias
- Henna party - New Delhi, India (travelpod.com)
- How to Choose the Best Bridal Mehndi Artist (splendidnorthwest.com)
- Beauty. (beginanadventure.wordpress.com)
- First Friday - Henna and Belly Dance (micheletzafrirah.wordpress.com)
- Marvelous Mehndi: 30 Beautiful Bridal Henna Designs (bellasugar.com)
- Henna math games :: making mehndi patterns (nurturestore.co.uk)