Latest Mehandi (1)Biogarphy Photos Pictures Pics ImagesSource(Google.com.pk)
Some of the oldest and most widespread henna applications are those for fingernails. Fingernails consist of keratin, the same protein material as skin and hair, so henna stains fingernails in the same way as it does skin or hair. Henna strengthens fingernails and cuticles by binding to the keratin strands. Henna also deters fungal infections of the nails. These qualities were important to women who did hard agricultural work in soggy irrigated fields, grinding grain and other household tasks, yet had to keep their fingertips smooth for weaving and sewing, or who simply wanted to look nice and not suffer from split nails and cuticles.
Egyptian mummies from the early Egyptian dynasties have darkened fingernails consistent with henna application, though there were no representations of living people with hennaed fingertips prior to the New Kingdom. Henna would have kept mummies' fingertips supple, so the skin would not withdraw back from the fingernails and retain a lifelike appearance, and would have deterred fungal blooms which spoil preservation. From the New Kingdom period on, the songstresses of Amun-Re are depicted with hennaed nails. This can be seen in the mummy board of a Songstress of Amun-Re from Thebes, 1050 BCE, in the British Museum, London. Other Egyptian women and men are depicted with uncolored nails through the New Kingdom period.
The women of the Minoan world hennaed their nails as seen on the fresco “Mistress of Animals” and Crocus Gatherer, Room e3 a, first floor, North Wall, and in “Lustral Basin”, North Wall, Adorants, Xeste 3, at Akrotiri, dated prior to the eruption of Thera in the first half of the second millennium BCE. Cycladic, Mycenaean, and Cypriot figures of women from that period also show women with hennaed nails.
Women hennaed their nails for two festivals in the Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean. One festival was in late March or early April, part of a fertility festival coinciding with the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the long summer drought. The second occasion was the end of the drought and beginning of the winter rains. The tableau from Xeste 3 seems to be a depiction of this spring festival.