Taking body art to another level
There’s something irresistible about treating the body like a canvas, painting on intricate motifs of flowers, paisleys, peacock feathers and more to celebrate life’s happy occasions. Whether it’s a sangeet, wedding, karva chauth, Eid or Passover this joyous body art is an intrinsic to the celebrations as jewelry, fine clothes and festive cuisine. The last few years have seen mehendi gaining a universal appeal, from international icons Madonna, Beyonce, Naomi Cambell and Katie Perry to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Deepika Padukone and the girl-next-door adorning themselves in intricate henna designs.
Art with an ancient history
It’s an art almost as old as recorded history. Historians believe henna was used by the Neolithic people in Catal Huyuk, in the 7th millennium BC to decorate their hands.
Early civilizations like the Babylonians, Assyrians, Sumerians, Semites and Canaanites adorned brides with henna while numerous artifacts circa 1400 BC to 1 AD uncovered in Iraq, Palestine, Greece, Egypt, Crete and Rome show women with henna patterns on their hands. Closer home, it’s been a traditional art form for more than 1000 years among Muslims and Hindus. According to Guatama Vajracharya, professor of art history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, henna was introduced in India by Muslims and gain wide popularity during the Mughal reign.
Timeless appeal and allure
It’s an irresistible art form with timeless appeal. Best of all it’s cool and alluring, painless and harmless, with no prerequisite of a lifetime commitment and possible infection unlike tattoos. What’s more glossies like Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, Wedding Bells, People and Cosmopolitan have made mehendi a fashion statement that goes beyond boundaries and ethnicities.
Four distinctive tattoo styles
According to Aileen Marron, author of The Henna Body Art Book henna tattoos are traditionally categorized in four distinctive styles. The Middle Eastern style of floral patterns is inspired by Arabic carvings, paintings and textiles. The Gulf style also called the Emerati style is popular in Oman, Sudan, UAE, Bahrain and Qatar. These designs are very different from what is popular in India in that they are bold, flowing and quite stunning.
The Indian and Pakistani style consists of intricate and repetitive paisleys, lines, flowers and teardrops, extending beyond the hands and feet to create the illusion of gloves. The Indonesian or South Asian styles are a mix of Indian and Middle Eastern designs with blocks of color on the tips of fingers and toes. Finally, the North American style doesn’t follow any specific pattern, simply accentuating the shape of the feet and hands using geometric floral patterns. Today Western designs usually take the Celtic route, typically in the form of bands and knots.
Picture Credits: fashionworld-hamood.blogspot.in