Tattoos are unusual among people in Arabic cultures, mostly due to religious influences that see body alterations as sinful or "haram". However, temporary tattoos, such as those drawn with henna, are popular in many areas, and Arabic influence and lettering are becoming more common with easy access to online language and name translators.
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Henna or Temporary
Henna or mehndi tattoos are traditional Arabic decorative body art worn mostly by women, usually for special events such as weddings. These tattoos are temporary, although they may last anywhere from days to months depending on how they are made. Henna designs feature complex curves, dots, teardrop shape and lines to make elegant patterns on the hands and feet. While using traditional cultural symbolism may be seen as offensive if you do not belong to the culture, the distinctive patterns used in henna lend them selves well to modification in a manner similar to tribal tattoos. They can also be placed in spots tribals traditionally go, such as arms, backs, neck, chest and even behind the ears, although they are not limited to these areas. The ochre coloured henna is available in nontoxic formulas, so it is safe to use on children but the style is also attractive when drawn in multiple bright colours.
Arabic lettering is becoming popular in tattoos. It is particularly important to keep religious sensitivity in mind when deciding what to write on yourself. You should never use phrases or passages from the Qur'an (Koran), but any other sentences, quotes or names are acceptable and inoffensive. Any time you have a word translated into a language you do not know, you should find a reputable translator to translate it for you so that you do not mistakenly say something you do not intend to say. Popular places for word tattoos include the wrists, ankles and back, although the elegant look of Arabic looks wonderful in just about any place.
While tattooing is relatively uncommon in Arabic societies, other forms of art have a long, complex history. You can try using this art as inspiration for extremely detailed pieces of body art. Arabic designs tend to be symmetrical while featuring geometric patterns. Arabic design lends itself well to both large and small pieces of body art.
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