Monday, October 3, 2016

Tatouage :Henna in Morocco

One of the most common sights in the souqs (bazaars) of Morocco is piles and piles of fine, olive-coloured powder containing natural dying properties called tannins obtained from the ground leaves, flowers and twigs of the green henna plant whose use was said to have originated more than 5,000 years ago in Egypt, when Cleopatra was said to have enhanced and prolonged her beauty with henna. Archaeological research indicates henna was used in ancient Egypt to stain the fingers and toes of Pharaohs prior to mummification. These ancient Egyptians and many indigenous and aboriginal people around the world believed that the naturally derived red substances of ochre, blood and henna had qualities that improved human awareness of the earth's energies and was applied to help people keep in touch with their spirituality. Henna has also been used extensively in southern China and has been associated with erotic rituals there for at least three thousand years and is said by some to have been brought to India by Egyptian moghuls in the 12th century A.D., though the use of Henna in the 4th to 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 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. In Morocco it is quite common to see as henna applied both as a hair treatment for, as a healing plant, henna conditions, cleanses, colours and cools the skin, and more usually as a dye to make decorative designs on women's hands and feet for weddings, special occasions or even just for a treat in the art form known as Mehndi. While this retains an aura of festivity, it remains a sacred practice intended not just to beautify the body, but to invite good fortune ‘baraka’ into one’s home, one’s marriage and one’s family, for the wives of the prophet Mohammed were known to have used it. The crushed leaves are mixed with hot water, lemon juice, garlic and pepper to turn into a black paste and applied nowadays with a syringe instead of the traditional Mishwaq pointed twig. Various shades are procured by mixing henna with the leaves, dried berries and fruit of other plants, such as indigo, tea, coffee, cloves and lemon. The application of henna to the body is neither painful nor poisonous. When used in body decoration, henna is thought of as an organically-derived temporary tattooing where it is simply a method of drawing various designs on the skin without the use of needles, therefore no piercing. As the skin absorbs and reacts with the henna powder, the skin is actually stained for a period of up to four weeks, so, because it is anatural stain, it can't be rubbed off or removed with soap and water. Black henna is reserved for the soles of the feet and hands while red henna is used for the tips of the fingers and toes. Pregnant Moroccan women in their seventh month seek out well respected henna practitioners called hannayas, to have certain symbols painted on their ankle, which will be encircled with a corresponding amulet.Image result for HENNA TATOUAGE IN MOROCCO