indian design
about henna

Henna History and Facts
Henna body painting is an ancient art dating back thousands of years. Henna is probably the most widely used cosmetic of all times. The earliest evidence of henna dates back to around 1200 BC when the Egyptians were known to color their fingernails and hair. The tradition then spread to the Middle East, India and other South East Asian countries.

Henna tradition spans many countries and religions, but the design details vary from culture to culture. Generally, Indian designs are made up of finely drawn paisley and floral patterns, Arabic concentrate on larger floral motifs and African designs include bold geometric shapes.

Painting henna designs on the hands & feet  is a long-established practice in India-- where the art form is called Mehndi.  The mehndi craze sprang up a few years ago after Madonna had her hands elaborately decorated for her pop video Frozen. Overnight, henna body art went from an oriental cultural tradition to a global business and tourist pursuit.

Uses of Henna

Henna as a Healer
In all the hot countries, henna has been used as a cooling agent to relieve people from the scotching heat. It cures headache and is also known to calm the nerves and bring health and beauty to the person. It is also believed to destroy any evil eye and bring heath and joy to the wearer.
Henna as a conditioner – Henna has been used for hair dyeing and conditioning purposes throughout history.
Henna as a beauty aid in body art - used to accentuate the beauty and elegance of hands and feet.
Henna goes trendy – cutting edge, cool, painless and temporary fashion accessory of the modern woman. With glitter, it adds sparkle to the design.
The meaning of color
All colors have a symbolic meaning: red is fire, orange represents the rising sun, ochre is blood and pink signifies the earth. Natural henna is always a dark red, reddish brown or orange color. It is never black.
Black Henna warning
Henna is NOT black. Some people add toxic chemical dyes to the natural henna to get a black color. It might contain para-phenylenediamine (PPD) which might cause serious blisters or sores on the skin.
Designs and Symbolism
All symbols start with the seed from which everything grows. Here are some:
Joining lines- duality of life
Triangle upwards – active male symbol representing fire and ascend to heaven
Triangle downwards – passive female symbol of water and grace descending from heaven.
Star – presence of divinity and hope
Five-pointed star – five elements of fire, water, earth, air and heaven
Square – stability, honesty and shelter
Diamond – enlightenment
Octagon – protection
Cross – cosmic symbol
Circle- denoted wholeness
Crescent moon- newborn baby
Sun – knowledge and immortality
Lotus – chastity, tree of life, womanhood, pure, clean
Peacock – love, desire, passion
Paisley – beauty, virginity
Palm branches – fertility
Right eye – sun (masculine power)
Left eye- moon (feminine power)


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