Henna: The Joyous Body Art, Pattern Book 1

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    Henna is plant dye which harmlessly stains the skin red-brown color, similar to that of blood. The metaphor of henna for blood, and the life force associated with blood, has been important to the traditions of henna since the earliest times. Women stained their hands with henna to celebrate life, love, and fertility as early as 7000 BCE in the eastern Mediterranean. Henna use has been continuous since then, spreading out over nine thousand years in over fifty countries, and was included in at least six major religions. Though local traditions developed through time, most henna use is still similar to the earliest recorded women’s arts and societies of the time, and women’s life within each culture. This pattern book is intended to reflect some of that diversity. Henna use has spread with marriages, wars, conquests, religious crusades, and economic ventures throughout the centuries. As women in each country embraced henna, they adapted it to their own aesthetics and needs. As henna now enters Western contemporary cultures, it is adapted again into new aesthetics and it addresses new needs. Catherine Cartwright-Jones created these henna patterns from traditional and historic arts for use by contemporary henna artists to celebrate the diversity of henna patterns and traditions throughout time.

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