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Welcome to Laurel's Mendhi

THIS SITE IS INFORMATION ONLY. I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL ARTIST. Please do not send email requesting my services. I will answer only questions you may have pertaining to your own mehndi, but no others. Thank you.


Henna's History

Traditions in Indian Cultures

Traditions in North Africa

Traditions in Southeast Asia


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The Venerable Art of Mehndi

Humans have long had a need to express themselves. We need to communicate our feelings, moods, ideas, and beliefs. We need others to know who we are, and we have many forms of communication to do so. Sometimes we speak, write, paint, or sing; other times we dress a certain way, or transform our bodies. Perhaps this is the easiest and most explicit way of expressing our beliefs and moods. Our appearance is the basis for other’s first impressions of us. One’s image is an instantaneous connection with another. It is no wonder then, that so many people take great care in creating a specific and precise self-image.

Clothes, makeup and jewelry are a few ways to create a certain image. Tattooing is another. In many parts of the world, tattoos indicate one’s rank in society, and are often obtained in special ceremonies. Tattoos may be used to make us more beautiful, to bring us good fortune, or sacrificed to placate malevolent spirits. They are important aspects of many cultures’ rites of passage. In India, North Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, tattooing with a special plant, the henna plant, is all of these things. Henna tattooing is primarily performed by, but not restricted to, women. It is a means to beautify their bodies; henna becomes a great symbol of female sexuality in these cultures. Women transform their bodies to enhance their gender; the act of applying henna to the skin celebrates the body as well.

The tradition of henna painting is not as simple as drawing on the skin. What one writes is a reflection of her self; in India and Islam, that reflection defines and accentuates a woman’s sexuality, be it her powers of creation, or her beauty and desirability. Today, the absorption of mehndi into western cultures signifies a great contraction of the global community. Men and women alike practice the art of henna, creating new body images, symbols and roles out of the old. Mehndi is a safe, yet wonderfully beautiful expression. The art of henna means something different to each person who practices it. In many cultures henna painting is just an art to decorate the body, but what it communicates—love, devotion, creativity—speaks to us all.

For More Information Online about Henna and Mehndi, I Recommend:

--the original Henna Page owned by Jeremy Rowntree; this is an excellent site for beginners, with a very helpful discussion forum.
You can buy Skin Care here