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Henna Hand, New Delhi, India, 1996

Photo: Henna Hand

A woman applies a delicate grid of henna paste to a celebrant's hand already painted with lacy paisleys. Henna comes from the leaves of a shrub, Lawsonia inermis, that have been dried, ground to a powder, and mixed with water. The dye, which fades from the skin after a few days or weeks, is as popular today with Western trend-setters as it was centuries ago in ancient Egypt.

(Photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "The Quest for Color," July 1999, National Geographic magazine)

Photograph by Cary Wolinsky

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