RU  UK  EN
Articles  >  Imagine  >  Mehndi – instead of a thousand tattoos

Mehndi – instead of a thousand tattoos

Author: 01.11.2015 | art, traditions, India
Every other person has considered having a tattoo, maybe not permanent but at least a temporary one. Absolutely painless application of drawings that can be altered in a couple of weeks is offered by Mehndi art – henna painting.

Hiding from parching sun in refreshing shadows of palaces and escaping boredom, while men were shaping the future of states, noble women in ancient Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Assirya and India sought entertainment in the art of henna painting… Travelling around the world, penetrating various cultures and adjusting to their traditions, this type of body-art became deeply engrained in various lands therefore it is rather problematic to figure out Mehndi’s true birthplace. Findings in the shape of thousand-years-old Egyptian mummies testify to the popularity of bio-tattoo in those times. Researchers have discovered traces of the coloring composition on embalmed bodies that had spent over five thousand years peacefully lying in a sepulcher. Thus, Egyptian women used to cover their hands and faces with ornamental paintings while they decorated their husbands’ temples with images of hoopoe birds as a symbol of wisdom and wit.

Another country competing for the title of the art’s founder is India. It was here where the term “Mehndi” originated and it was also here where archeologists found ancient petroglyphic engravings depicting Indian princesses with extremities fully adorned with distinctive paintings. Local women nowadays still ornament themselves with various patterns. Every other one regardless of age and status can boast to have either a blooming lotus or whimzical ethnic elements. Girls get their first henna-tattoos as early as at the age of three to four years. Citizens believe that these paintings done with natural material, aside from beauty and beneficial effect on skin, also work on a “delicate level” performing “cleaning” of chakras. Seven of them are considered to be major ones, they are dispersed along body’s major energy centers and find their reflection on palms that are decorated the most.

Ornamentation was paid special attention by women from Arabic countries. Henna paintings didn’t serve merely as adornment but also as a talisman with the process of their application considered to be a certain ritual. Daily pictures were uncomplicated at all representing a simple pattern of swirls and dashes while on holidays and celebrations women used to decorate their bodies with more sophisticated motifs in shapes of flowers, leaves and geometric figures that compose exclusive arabesques. Tattoos for brides used to be paid special attention. Most often their application was taking both hands of more than one skilled painter and a several days time. Mehndi traditions here as well as in India remained almost intact. Henna decoration is included to standard procedures list in many beauty salons alongside hairdos, makeup and manicure. In wedding season and national holidays these establishments significantly extend their working hours trying to paint as many hands and legs as possible.

Mehndi didn’t gain as much popularity in Europe as it did in the East in those times. Durable paint transportation that significantly decreases its quality, Church’s disapproval of the decoration together with increasing relevance of long-lasting tattoos significantly delayed period of henna popularization, as long as till 1990s. Having had enough of life-long tattoos and piercing, Europeans and Americans embarked on a search for blander and less “permanent” adornment. It was then when they recalled natural dye. A painting made with a blend of good quality lasts for about a month and the procedure itself is absolutely painless and hygienic. Besides, due to its natural origins, henna exerts favorable effect on skin. Its main benefit is antipyrotic action that was noticed in the very same East. Before sun protection cream was invented, it was henna that Bedouins, who were wandering in deserts for months and months, used to cover their hands and faces with. Travelers weren’t particularly thinking about drawings and their meaning (and who other than camels would have appreciated them), so they were simply dipping their hands into a dye-liqour.

Mehndi application technology in Europe isn’t much different from eastern one while designs diversity increased significantly. Traditional styles and motifs with complementing trends like images of zodiac signs and meaningful inscriptions created new patterns that enjoy popularity as a stylish accessory for parties and feasts. One of the world’s best masters in Mehndi art, by the way, became a European. The United Kingdom citizen Ash Kumar in 2001 even managed to proudly get his own line in Guinness World Records when he managed to paint as many as 96 hands with good quality drawings in one hour.

It will be interesting:
Boat instead of shopping basket: Famous floating markets
Stores, shopping malls, markets - all these places are an integral part of daily goings-on of almost every person on our planet. It would seem there is nothing special about them: they are all alike, just goods and prices vary depending on country or city. In fact, it is not quite true since some markets are only accessible via waterways. Our today’s story is about them.
Azulejo: Story of tiles
You often got convinced that skilful hands of a master who puts life into his creation, can transform humble tree stump into a charming violin, piece of plaster becomes an ancient sculpture, and even clay tile looks like a work of fine art.
Lost island of Yap. The land of big money
How can you understand the nature of finance, if there is no desire to go deep into the jungle of science? It is better to see once, than to read a hundred times: a trip to the island of Yap in Micronesia replaces the entire university course of monetary theory. Yap roads are lined up with giant doughnut-shaped, carved disks the size of a millstone - rampant inflation has made the world biggest money into fun for tourists.
Filthy creativity
Dirty cars are like a host for an artist. One may treat such art differently. Someone will wrinkle his nose and disdainfully wrestle his clothes. Others necessarily want to put a finger in such a picture in order to check the fragility of the "canvas" and smear its outlines. However, others will definitely make a selfie. However, nobody can pass by.
Ecuador: To be an indian
Our journalist came back from Ecuador with unique experience and we share it with you. For the first time I was suspected of drug trafficking. Alone, in the country where there is no Ukrainian Embassy, I was standing and feverishly figuring out if someone could plant something on me on the way to the airport.
Oriental makeup as a tradition: Seductive and languishing look
The well-known saying goes: east is a delicate matter. All-in-all, it is true as evidenced even by details. Due to specific climate, eastern women have similar type of appearance, and their nations are united by close cultures. Therefore, they prefer the same beauty standards. Women are supposed to be modest, to dress so as to completely or almost completely conceal figure.
Thailand handcraft: From silk to pearls
Have you ever thought how many grains of history are stored in each item sold at little booths in Thailand? Yet, strolling along those souvenir stalls you are browsing craft records of the whole nation, briefly looking through notes survived from a thousand years ago to the present day. Some pages have thinned to transparency, but marks did preserve their former accuracy.
Handicraft: persian carpets
In those days when the Persian soldiers were second to none, and both the Roman Empire and the Arabian Peninsula were conquered by their power, skilful fingers of winner nation craftswomen created their first masterpiece. The carpet called The Springtime passed into history as the most precious of all time. It symbolized powerful rule of the Persians, and its beauty told about the divine origin of the king Khosrow I.
Michelangelo Antonioni: a Poet of the Desert of Human Soul
Complicated spiritual world of the people of the 20th century has become a fruitful topic for many cinematographers but a special place in its exploration belongs to Antonioni. The director has gained global fame with the movies that display inner world of his contemporaries, their loneliness and lack of social connections(the concept that has become crucial in the art of the master).
National drinks: Zero degrees and lots of energy
Everyone knows that being in Scotland you should try whiskey, in France you should taste wine, and in Japan t is all about sake. But few people think about national soft drinks. They were created by peoples with far more practical intentions - refreshing and burning, repelling from the climate features, possessing nourishing properties.
Bajau: Seafarers of Southeast Asia
Small ethnic groupshave been always interesting for scientists and artists, who sought inspiration in their lifestyle. The Bajau - nomadic seafarers who formally can be correlated with Malaysia, are one of the most popular ethnic groups today.
Gastronomic tourism: Through food to culture
You should not condescendingly treat gastrotours as a newfangled invention. Gastronomic tourism is one of the aspects of world science. Her star, American scientist Eric Wolf, who in 2001 founded the International Association of Gastronomic Tourism, states: food is the quintessence of the nation, its mentality, character and, of course, history ...
Animals in the city: When people sing in tune with Nature
Many city dwellers are irritated by cats, dogs or even pigeons in the streets. Attempts of zoo-advocates to save them from attacks of people and from starvation are mainly ineffective. But there are wonderful cities in this world where people perfectly coexist with deer, peacocks and cattle…
Where to go? Top five of the most interesting museums of modern art in Europe
Françoise Barbe-Gall teaches how to talk to children about art. She gives practical advices in her books, teaches to see things invisible to many people, to notice details and forget about labels. But we have to admit there are very few people who can boast with expertise in this area. If you want to change this order of things, today we offer you to go with us to the museums.
Mandala Therapy
Yesterday I created a Universe. I took some peas, rice, buckwheat, millet, black and white pepper seeds and cardamom. Grabbed a handful of coffee and aniseeds. Then it all acquired a centre. It kept growing and calming my thoughts. When the last seed landed in the circle, I felt forgotten harmony again, heard birds singing through the noise of cars on the avenue...
Nihongami: Topknot as a aign of status
Nihongami is a certain way to arrange hair in Japanese tradition. Interestingly, in the Land of the Rising Sun hairdos were legally controlled and served as some sort of dress code for ladies of different social statuses and classes. Therefore, each class had strictly determined corresponding outfit and hairstyle and those laws are still obeyed by geishas and their apprentices.
METRO beauty
Residents of big cities almost daily use the subway as a transport means. Alas, in the rapid pace of modern life a few people can afford to enjoy the design of these transit hubs. OUTLOOK is not able to stop time, but allow us to highlight fifteen of the most mesmerizing underground subway station from all around the world.
The magnificent world of land-art: Patrick Dougherti
Land-art is not simply the landscape design but also the whole direction in art which in thee 21-st century considered one of the most important when only lazy people do not speak about the ‘green technologies’ and environment. The names of stars of such an activity have sturdily come into the speech of the tutors, critics, and connoisseurs, especially they outline Patrick Dougherti.
Houses that they build…Unusual houses
Treehouses, dug-outs and secret shelters – all the things we used to build when children. Unfortunately, as we grow older, fantasy fades and most of us now live in uncomfortable grey “boxes”. However, there are people who have created dwellings of their dreams by themselves.
National winged symbols
Each state has its own official symbols: flag, coat of arms and anthem. But in addition to the traditional "identification mark" there are symbols chosen by people, for instance, a favourite bird. It is about them OUTLOOK expands below. To register the people's love by document, in 1960 in Tokyo at the International Conference on the Protection of Birds was created the concept of "national bird".
Close
Outlook facebook page