Henna artwork is becoming increasingly popular with women from all walks of life and from all over the world today. At one time it was a traditional practice for woman in the Indian Subcontinent and the Middle east to adorn themselves with Henna artwork on their hand and feet especially for happy occasions like weddings. It is just simply to beautify themselves but today the growing popularity has crossed the big oceans. The start of this was when the celebrity Maddona came online with henna artwork on her whole body and then women across the globe found it trendy to follow in the same footsteps to add colour and intricate patterns to their hands and feet .Now they even do it on their bodies, belly, their shoulders arms and all over their bodies whatever takes their fancy. It is more a fun artwork.
Henna is a tall shrub or small tree, standing 1.8 to 7.6 m tall (6 to 25 ft). It is glabrous and multi-branched, with spine-tipped branchlets. The leaves grow opposite each other on the stem. They are glabrous, sub-sessile, elliptical, and lanceolate (long and wider in the middle; average dimensions are 1.5–5.0 cm x 0.5–2 cm or 0.6–2 in x 0.2–0.8 in), acuminate (tapering to a long point), and have depressed veins on the dorsal surface. Henna flowers have four sepals and a 2 mm (0.079 in) calyx tube, with 3 mm (0.12 in) spread lobes. Its petals are obvate, with white or red stamens found in pairs on the rim of the calyx tube. The ovary is four-celled, 5 mm (0.20 in) long, and erect. Henna fruits are small, brownish capsules, 4–8 mm (0.16–0.31 in) in diameter, with 32–49 seeds per fruit, and open irregularly into four splits.
HISTORY OF HENNA ARTWORK
HAND WITH MEHNDI DESIGN
The name henna also refers to the dye prepared from the plant and the art of temporary body art (staining) based on those dyes (see also mehndi). Henna has been used since antiquity to dye skin, hair and fingernails, as well as fabrics including silk, wool and leather. The name is used in other skin and hair dyes, such as black henna and neutral henna, neither of which is derived from the henna plant.
Historically, henna was used for cosmetic purposes in Ancient India or Carthage, as well as other parts of North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and South Asia. Bridal henna nights remain an important custom in many of these areas, particularly among traditional families.
The history and origin of Henna is hard to trace with centuries of migration and cultural interaction it is difficult to determine where particular traditions began. There is very persuasive evidence that the Neolithic people in Catal Huyuk, in the 7th millennium BC, used henna to ornament their hands in connection with their fertility goddess.
The earliest civilizations to have used henna include the Babylonians, Assyrians, Sumerians, Semites, Ugaritics and Canaanites. The earliest written evidence that mentions henna specifically used as an adornment for a bride or woman’s special occasion is in the Ugaritic legend of Baal and Anath, inscribed on a tablet dating back to 2100 BC, found in northwest Syria. Henna has also been used extensively in southern China and has been associated with erotic rituals for at least three thousand years, during the ancient Goddess cultures.
The use of Henna in the 4th-5th centuries in the Deccan of western India is clearly illustrated on Bodhisattvas and deities of cave wall murals at Ajanta, and in similar cave paintings in Sri Lanka. The evidence proves henna usage in India seven centuries before the Moghul invasion, and hundreds of years before the inception of the Islamic religion, which began in the mid-7th century AD.
The word Henna has its origin in the Arabic word Al-Hinna. In botanical terms it is Lawsonia Enermis, a plant which grows to be 4 to 8 feet high in hot climates and can be found in Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Persia, Morocco, Palestine, Yemen, Egypt, Uganda, Tanzania, Afghanistan, Senegal, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and India. The leaves, flowers and the twigs of the plant are ground into fine powder containing natural dying properties called tannins; the powder is then mixed with hot water.
Various shades are procured by mixing henna with the leaves and fruit of other plants, such as indigo, tea, coffee, cloves and lemon. The resulting paste is often used as a hair dye. During hot weather, henna acts as a cooling agent when applied to the palms of the hands and the bottoms of the feet. When used in decorative body art, sugar and oil are also added to the mixture to strengthen the color and longevity of design.
While henna is known by many names including Henne, Al-Khanna, Jamaica Mignonette, Egyptian Privet and Smooth Lawsonia, the art of its application is referred to as Henna (Arabic) or Mendhi (Hindu).
Centuries of migration and cultural interaction make the task of determining henna’s exact origin a complex one. However, historians argue that henna has been used for at least 5,000 years in both cosmetic and healing capacities.
Some researches argue henna originated in ancient India while others claim it was brought to India by Egyptian moghuls in the 12th century C.E. Still others will contend that the tradition of applying henna to the body began in the Middle East and North Africa in ancient times.
HENNA SYMBOLISMS AND SIGNIFICANCE
As henna is part of many cultural traditions accross many regions there are a number of symbols used within the art and each have various meanings and uses.
Here are some of the more popular symbols and blessings used within mehndi art:
Palm decoration ~ designs invoke images of opening and offering (usually sun, flower, mandala)
Back of hand decoration ~ acts as a shield-closing, defending, clenching-symbolizing protection.
Right hand ~ Male, Projective
Left hand ~ Female, Receptive
Feet ~ The feet are recognized as a point of divine contact, considered a holy junction,
where Human being and Earth meet.
Peacocks ~ beauty
Swans ~ success
Birds ~ messengers (between heaven and earth)
Butterflies ~ transformation
Parrots ~ messengers of love
Dragonflies ~ rebirth
Fishes ~ a womans eyes
Scorpian ~ love and romance, its sting is analogous to Cupid's arrow while being stung produces the same effects as being in love – glittering eyes, breathless, heat and feverish
Flowers ~ joy and happiness
Vines and leaves ~ longevity, devotion, perseverance, entwined lives and vitality
Lizards and snakes ~ seekers of enlightenment
Tortoise ~ Protection and fertility
Lotus Blossom ~ the light within / the awakening of the human soul. Grace, beauty, creativity, sensuality, femininity, and purity.
Sahasrara ~ thousand-petal lotus ~ uniting the soul with the 'Divine Source'
Sun, Moon,and Stars ~ deep and lasting love between lovers/partners
Paiselys ~ represent fertility and good luck
Eye ~ said to mirror back the 'Evil Eye'
The bud ~ signifying new growth especially at the end of a drought, and thus represent new life, fertility and joy – or as a metaphor in bridal mehndi to symbolise the start of a new love and a new life.
ZigZag ~ this symbol means "rain" and represents fertility and abundance.
The game (chess board) ~ an ancient symbol which, in different variants, represents happiness and joyful moments.
Ripples ~ represent running water, which purifies and brings life. Also symbolising human emotion.
Square ~ magical, used to heal and protect the sick.
REMOVING HENNA ARTWORK
There is no way to completely remove a fresh henna stain, but you can speed up the demise.
The henna dye molecule soaks into and stains the top layers of your skin cells. Everyday new skin cells move to the surface replacing older cells including those that are stained with your henna design. Unfortunately, you must wait for your bodies natural processes and normal wear and tear on your design for it to fade completely.
There are a few things you can do to help speed along the demise of a henna stain:
> Soaking in the shower or bath
> Scrubbing or exfoliating the skin.
> Chlorine can help to remove the stain so a dip in the pool may speed up the fading process
> Whitening tooth paste scrubbed over the stain may help as well
> Moisturising the skin with Alpha-Hydroxy Acid or Beta Hydroxy acid – found in specialised facial moisturisers – please consult your nearest pharmacy or skin specialist counters.
DO NOT USE BLEACH AS A STAIN REMOVER! This is harmful for all skin types.
HENNA ARTWORK AT VANESSA’S
At Vanessa’s Beauty Saloon and Henna Artwork Creations they have a cosmopolitan range of customers and it is done more for a decorative and fun purpose .It is very popular for weddings amongst Indian and Malays in Singapore and they have special bridal sessions for this .Also for events with Indian themes. The Henna paste is put on a cone and they draw the design on the same principles of doing an icing for a cake. Vanessa Julius and her mother Elizabeth Subramanian have a natural passion for this and an inherent talent to do the designs. They developed the skill through regular practice and are now experts in the art. They have a natural gift for doing the artwork and every thing was self taught They do this all free hand though there are ready made stencils with designs which you can put the Henna paste over and pull out the stencil but it is not as great as when you do it free hand they say. They also run courses occasionally .The more intricate the design the more expensive it is .It takes 7 to 10 days for the Henna Artwork to fade off naturally. Along with this they also do Henna dyes for the hair to color the hair and are also experts in the art of doing eyebrow threading and facially to remove unwanted facial hairs. They also do facials and have run this place for 30 years. So if you want to beautify yourselves all you lovely women check out Vanessa’s beauty saloon and Henna Artwork at Vanessa Beauty Salon & Henna Artwork Creation
B2- 28 City Square Mall
180 Kitchener Road, Singapore 208539
Tel : 6509 6595, Mobile : 9238 7207
02 – 02 The Verge ( Tekka Mall )
2 Serangoon Road – Little India
16 2nd Floor Buffalo Road
Tel : 6291 0977