Traditions in West Africa
People are often surprised to learn just how global henna is as an art form. I am particularly drawn to the swirly, bold forms of henna from UAE; and the more geometric henna from Morocco. Styles and techniques vary from region to region.
A popular technique in West Africa is to use 'resist' instead of a cone or a syringe. The henna is applied in a thick layer of paste over a resist made with flour 'glue' (similar to the resist technique used in batik on fabric) or with medical tape laid down in intricate designs.
From North Africa to Indonesia people have adorned themselves for beauty and protection for generations. Sometimes wild claims are made, like 'henna has been used for 3,000 years'. Well maybe not THAT long. But verifiable records do show references that predate the bible.
My favorite henna historian, Noam Sienna has a quick read on Ayiba Magazine that shares some of the stories and techniques of henna in West Africa.