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The Henna Page Journal
New Woad
Catherine Cartwright Jones
Page 2 of 6

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Temptu, a Safe, Temporary Alternate for Woad and Tattoo

Roy Zuckerman, roy@temptu.com, of Temptu, sent me dark blue and indigo specialty colors when I explained my interest in finding a functional substitute for woad. I brought my dark blue Temptu to New York Serious Henna Conference. I did an upper arm “new woad” Temptu piece on Anne Beltestad Sunday afternoon. All who saw the work agreed that, once completed, it was indistinguishable from a Celtic tattoo, and that it did NOT look like “black henna” created from PPD hair dye. Anne slept overnight with the Temptu temporary tattoo, and showered the next morning. By 11 am, the upper third of the Temptu temporary tattoo had partially flaked off, but could have been retouched to return it to original quality. The rest was intact. I also did a Temptu “new woad” facial piece on Constance. Celtic facial tattoo work can be aggressively beautiful, transformative and may be historically correct. Facial Temptu can last a weekend with touch ups and good care, long enough for a convention or reenactment. It comes off with rubbing alcohol, but stays on through a shower.

At the recent Serious henna conference we felt that dark blue or indigo Temptu could be offered to body art clients as “New Woad”. This can be aesthetically satisfying for a henna artist to do, culturally satisfying for a person of Celtic ethnic origin to receive, and, above all, SAFE. Temptu ornaments frequently requested shoulders, backs, chests, necks and faces, which are notoriously difficult to stain with henna.

Temptu has paint-on body art products that are safe, tenacious, and blue. Temptu blue and indigo colors are very easy to use and cannot be mistaken for “black henna”. Temptu lasts for a day or a few days depending on conditions and care. Temptu is a tenacious body art paint that sits safely on top of the skin, and does not penetrate it or stain it. Temptu is made of all FDA improved ingredients, and is SAFE to use on skin! Temptu was created to simulate tattoos for the film industry, where actors may need to have body art that is durable enough to withstand a day’s shooting without smearing, and enough of the pattern will remain that a touch-up the next day will restore it for another day’s filming. Temptu is http://www.temptu.com, Temptu Marketing, Inc © 2000, 26 West 17th Street NY, NY 10011 USA / 212-675-4000.

Insular Celtic Tattoo and Woad Traditions, and their Possible Historic Connections with Henna

The Celtic woading traditions may have had been connected with henna body art in the late Neolithic in Anatolia, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Thrace, or in the western Mediterranean in Spain. People from the eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea between 7000 BCE and 1000 BCE, hennaed their hands and feet, and wore harquus markings made with henna, tattoo, harquus or indigo (Cartwright Jones 2002: ix). Bronze Age Celtic tribal groups lived in that region before migrating up the Danube river system into northwestern Europe. The Celts carried wheat agriculture and related belief systems with them as they migrated northwest, and they may also have carried body adornment traditions. Celtic Austrian bronze hands from the 7th c BCE have tattoo patterns very similar to Eastern Mediterranean henna patterns1 . As tribes migrated out of the warm climate zone, henna would have to have been abandoned, as it grows only in a frost-free zone. Woad, a dye plant related to indigo suited to colder climates, and tattoo could have been substituted for henna body art in colder regions. It is also possible that the body art traditions in Europe were related to Scythian and other Central Asian tattooing traditions, which are also interrelated with henna traditions through Iran (Dexieu, 1998).

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