The Encyclopedia of Henna
The history and traditions of War and Henna

Henna is most often associated with brides, or at least with glamorous, slightly exotic young women who are objects of sexual interest.  Bridal henna traditions are certainly longstanding and widespread.  However, henna has also been used to prepare for and celebrate war and killing.  There are texts from myth, poetic, legal and eyewitness reports through history showing that henna goes far beyond the bridal adornment.  Henna has been used as part of battle, victory, guerrilla warfare, martyrdom, rebellion and taking one’s life after a husband’s death in battle.  Each of the links below has details on an aspect of henna and war. 

If the link isn't live yet, it will be soon!

Anath's Victory Henna
The Virgin Warrior Goddess Anath Hennas Her Hands to Celebrate Baal's Victory over Mot

The Battlefield Goddesses and Bringers of Rain

The Hennaed Guerrilla Fighters in Jerusalem, 70 CE

The Insurrection in the Hadramaut

Judith and Holofernes

Hennaed War Horses

Henna, Qajar Persian Military and Afghanistani Warriors

Henna and Archers

The Hand of Fatima on War flags and Standards

The Bedouin Battle Virgin

Henna and the camp followers

Henna on a Warrior's Wife for Victory or Suttee

Henna and Current Conflicts

References for this material:

Cassuto, U.
The Goddess Anath, translated from the Hebrew by Israel Abrams
The Magnes Press, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem 1951

De Moor, Johannes C.
The Seasonal Pattern in the Ugaritic Myth of Ba’lu According to the Version of Ilimilku
Verlag Butzon & Berker Kevelaer, Neukirchen – Vluyn, 1971

Field, Henry 
Body-Marking in Southwestern Asia
Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University
Vol. XLV, No 1
Peabody Museum, Cambridge Massachusetts, USA

Hooke, S. H.
Middle Eastern Mythology from the Assyrians to the Hebrews
Penguin Books 1963

Josephus, Wars of the Jews, IV, 9 and 10

Manchanda, Rita
Guns and Burqa, Women in the Kashmir Conflict
Women, War and Peace in South Asia: Beyond Victimhood to Agency
Sage Publications, New Delhi and London, 2001

Mernisi, F.
Beyond the Veil, Male-Female Dynamics in Modern Muslim Society
Indiana University Press. 1975

Rattray, J
Costumes and Scenery of Afghaunistan
Harrington and Remington, London, 1848

Saksena, Jogendra
"Art of Rajasthan, Henna and Floor Decorations"
Sundeep Prakashan, Delhi

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