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Posted by Catherine Cartwright Jones on August 10, 2002 at 14:09:55:

"Domestic Culture in the Middle East" by Jennifer Scarce, National
Museum of Scotland, ISBN 0-7007-0460-4 is a beautiful little paperback
picture book ... some pictures show henna as it existed in the home.

One of the problems with many presentations of henna and other body
art is that in these books the adornment shown devoid of context (or
the context is idealized, exoticized, orientalized). In this book you
see how henna was part of everyday life Middle Eastern women's lives
... coping with a husband, co-wives, friends, cooking, cleaning,
bathing, managing the kids, having parties, going to the cemetary...
If you don't see the context wherein people apply henna ... how can
you understand henna? IE .. a picture of a hennaed foot or hennaed
hand all by itself doesn't tell yo as much as a 19th c painting of an
Iranian girl dancing that shows you just how those hennaed feet peeked
out from under embroidered layerd skirts as she danced on a patterned
silk Persian carpet, while she stretched out her embroidered hip scarf
with her left hennaed fingertips and clicked castinets with her right
hennaed hand. The henna was part of the opulence of the room, the
richness of the textiles, the sensuousness of her dance moves, the
swishing of her long braids, the bouncing of her curls.....

Nice little book! Pretty Pictures! Worth getting!


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