Ethiopian Tribes, Mursi
Ethiopia, tribes, Mursi woman
Among the Mursi people of the Omo Valley in Ethiopia a girl's lower lip is cut when she reaches the age 15 or 16. The girl's lip is pierced by her mother or another woman of her settlement and a simple wooden plug is inserted. The cut is held open by the wooden plug until the wound heals. After that the plug is replaced by a bigger one. The stretching of the lip continues by inserting progressively larger plugs over a period of several months. At a diameter of about 4 cm the first lip plate made of clay can be inserted, the final diameter ranges from about 8 cm to over 20 cm.
Nowadays the girls in some Mursi settlements decide for themselves whether to wear a lip plate or not. However, wearing a lip plate is still an expression of social adulthood and self-esteem for a Mursi woman and demonstrates respect for the Mursi men.
Website, gallery: Dietmar Temps, photography