Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Henna's History

The library's very own Usha Dontharaju detailed the history of Henna or Mehandi tattoos and demonstrated this beautiful art on our audience members today. The practice of creating temporary tattoos using dye prepared from the henna plant is believed to have originated in Egypt over 5000 years ago, when it was painted on pharaohs after death so they could be easily identified in the afterlife. Henna has been popular in many cultures since, both for its cooling properties and as body art. Did you know that a paste made from henna powder can also be used to condition and dye hair? Henna is also a very important part of weddings in India--usually a whole day is dedicated to the application of henna to the bride and other ladies in the wedding.

To create a paste for body art, crushed henna powder is mixed with water and a small amount of vegetable oil and then put into a cone (or even a plastic bag with the corner cut off) for application. You can create any number of designs on hands, feet or ankles. The dye dries for 2-4 hours, and once it has come off, you have a beautiful work of art in a reddish-brown color that should stay on the skin for about two weeks. Check out some of the beautiful designs below. Thanks to our wonderful artists, Usha, Krissy, and Linda!

No comments: