Contemporary Indian Bridal Adornment


Indian brides have always been adorned as lavishly as a family's means could arrange.  Colorful saris with golden threads, thick with embroidery, jewelery, lavish hair styles, and cosmetics announce to the community the means and status of the bride.  Prior to the 19th century, Hindu brides were adorned with turmeric, lac, and kumkum.  Muslim brides had henna, and a night of the henna.  These traditions gradually merged and fused, and energized each other through the late 20th century.

Recently, the bridal henna industry in India has recently expanded into other types of colorful body adornment, using glitter, gilt, and colored cosmetics and paste, reflecting current clothing styles and tastes.  There are presently dozens of styles and techniques in India that go far beyond henna, into the genre of theatrical cosmetics adapted for henna.  These cosmetics do not stain the skin as henna does, they are various kinds of waterproof body paints formulated so they can be applied in henna techniques.  These colorful body paints are particularly popular with brides who undergo many clothing changes through their bridal parties, and who want to be able to change their body art to match each change!

Download a free ebook on Hindu Wedding Traditions from Gujarat

Hindu Wedding

This free ebook explains the sequence of parties and rituals for Gujarati Hindu weddings, the meaning and importance of the traditions, and photographs of the events.
PDF, 54 pages,  5 MB download

Watch Videos of Bridal Henna Artists at work!

Riffat Bahar

Step by Step: The Bride's Hand: Artist: Riffat Bahar
14 MB wmv Watch Riffat Bahar create magnificent patterns on a bride's hand!

Kim Brennan2
"Artist at Work" Kim Brennan (40MB wmv file)
Watch a henna artist create beautiful henna patterns!

One of Gujarat's leading bridal henna artists is Dipti Desai.  To read her approach to henna, and view her work, go to: Dipti Desai's Mehandi

TapDancing Lizard publishes Dipti Desai's new henna books
her designs and photographs of her beautiful work!
Dipti Desai's Mehandi Dipti Desai's Mehandi

Can't find what you're looking for?  Try:
The Henna Page Main Index
*"Henna, the Joyous Body Art" 
the Encyclopedia of Henna
Catherine Cartwright-Jones c 2000 
registered with the US Library of Congress
TXu 952-968