Visual Arts Thru Mehandi In Palms

Author: Arun Ranjit


For women From Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Maldives, Mehandhi is well known since long time. The visual arts of painting into the skin is not only taken as a fashion but also considered it as part of Asian culture, and women feel Saubhagyabati when they apply this visual art in their skin.

Though it is an old tradition nowadays it's become the latest fashion trend to hit the market. It hints of far-off places, comes in a variety of eye-catching designs, looks great with a blouse, and is sure to make you the talk of the party. The only catch: it fades away after a weeks.

But then again, thatís the beauty of henna painting. For all those who ever wanted a tattoo without the long-term commitment henna painting fashion has been attracted more women-folk especially the young ladies.

Making the long journey through Africa, Middle East and India and to the Himalayan country Nepal, it has also been reached the Far East nations also. The ancient body-beatification technique is an easy way to get a fantastic body design, without the pain or the permanence of a tattoo.

Nepalese and Indians named the art "mehandhi", but it is known as "mendhi" in Morocco. Though, the visual arts was introduced to the Far East nations through the long journey from Africa the art of beautification is called also known as "menthe" by the Korean, Filipinos, Indonesian and other neighbouring people. It entails applying a natural skin dye to various parts of the body to create a decorative design.

The artís portal into the country is Henna Design. But henna painting is hardly new-it has been around as long as some of the worldís oldest civilizations. Its exact origin is uncertain, but most experts surmise that the cosmetic use of henna began in either Northern Africa or India some 4,000 to 6,000 years ago.

Thanks to its appealing cosmetic properties and its rich cultural background, the art has gradually spread all over the world. Mendhi has become especially popular in the United States, thanks to pop idol Madonna, who got hennaed for her "Ray of Light" music video.

The henna plant was originally cultivated in Egypt, and archaeologists have discovered traces of henna on the hair and nails of mummies dating back to 1200 B.C.

The use of henna is still widespread today. Besides being employed as a skin dye, it is also used to strengthen hair and cool sunburn rashes. This last application is directly related to the plantís medicinal value as a body coolant, which explains its widespread use in hot, semi-arid regions. Ancient Indian paintings contain characters with hennaed body parts, and the plant is believed to have been brought as Far East as China at that time.

Mixed with other ingredients, the plant was used to dye the manes and hooves of horses and to colour wool, silk and animal skins as well as menís beards. Vietnamese women once used the plant to lacquer their teeth black. But the graceful, paisley designs now associated with "mehandhi" can be traced back to Indian royalty.

Vendors of mendhi can still be found in droves outside of the Taj Mahal in India, where long ago married women, who then painted the brides with henna before the wedding day, instructed the wives of famous Shahs in the carnal arts.

It is said that Indian men became instantly aroused upon viewing their future bride covered in henna- the belief being that the more complex and comprehensive the design, the more instruction the bride had received on the intricacies of lovemaking.

The henna artists also hid the tiny initials of the bridegroom somewhere on the brideís hennaed body. The groom faced the inviting prospect of finding the initials on his wifeís body when the newlyweds reached the bridal chamber.

Each culture that uses henna has ascribed a different meaning to it. In general, the plant is considered a lucky charm, used to guard against harmful spirits and genies. The adolescents of certain North African tribes dip their hands in henna to mark their passage into adulthood.

Paintings for wedding were the most common use of henna among ancient cultures, which is primarily why the art is associated with love. It is said that the darker the henna, the deeper the love of the bride and groom. A dark henna application is tantamount to a long and happy marriage.

The paint is made by drying the henna plant and crushing its leaves into a powder, which is then mixed with water, oil and lemon juice depending on the womenís choice.

It is then applied to the skin with a small cone-shaped squeeze tube (or other applicator) in varying degrees of design complexity. As the paint dries, it dyes the skin anywhere from an orange to a burgundy red depending on the personís skin type and how long the henna is allowed to soak into the skin.

The remaining paint then dries and flakes off, and the customer is left with a tattoo-like design that lasts from two to four weeks.

Mehandhi application can be complemented with shiny plastic beads called bindi, making the wearer a glowing source of beauty.

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