What is Mehndi ?
Mehndi (also called Mehandi) is the traditional art of painting the hands, feet or body with a paste made from the powdered, dried leaves of the henna plant (Botanical name : Lawsonia Inermis). It stain's a usually cherry-red to brown color but this can vary with time left on and a range of other factors. Coffee, lemon, tea, and essential oils are sometimes added for texture, smell or to help the stain. Mehndi started in the Middle East and Northern Africa over 5,000 years ago. It has been used for artistic, ritual and ceremonial use. Archeologists have even found mummies with hennaed hands. It's becoming popular for a pain free, temporary body art here in the states.
MEHNDI is an ancient form of body art that has been practiced in the Middle East, India and parts of Africa for thousands of years. Mehndi is often viewed as a woman's practice though it has indeed been practiced by men. Mehndi is the art of applying designs to the skin through the application of pastes made with henna powder on different parts of the body. Henna was most often applied to the hands and feet.
Henna was first applied as a means to cool down the body. A dot was applied to the palm of the hands and helped to cool the body.
After becoming bored with the look of the single dot on the palm, the early users of henna began to add lines and other shapes. Eventually this elaboration became the beautiful designs we see today.
In the different cultures where the practice of Mehndi flourished, different styles and ways of application developed. There are the fine lines of designs of Pakistan and India. There are the more geometric patterns and designs of Morocco. There are the bold geometric shapes and patterns of various parts of Africa created with a method of tape resist. Mehndi patterns are created with the application of paste with gold rods, plastic cones, plastic bottles with tips, syringes, toothpicks and other tools henna artists have developed to get the job done and express themselves through the art of Mehndi.
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