Textual Research on Henna Art Introduced into Ancient China Through the Silk Road

  •  Xue Yang    
  •  Yu Liu    


Since ancient Egypt, henna has been widely used as dyes for women’s henna body art. Through the Silk Road, China assimilated cultures of its Western Regions, India, and Persia, such as the henna art. In Ancient China the "garden balsam" is always called "henna". Nevertheless, they belong to two different kinds of flowers. Folks’ mixed use of these two kinds of flower names reflects the profound impact of the henna art on Chinese traditional culture of decorative nails. This textual research results revealed that in ancient China the customs of dye red nails are affected by foreign henna art and there were three development stages: the introduction period (from the Western Jin Dynasty to the Tang Dynasty), the development period (in the Song-Yuan Dynasty) and the popularity period (in the Ming-Qing Dynasty).

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