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mursi

The Mursi (or Murzu) are a nomadic cattle herder ethnic group located in the Debub Omo Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region in Ethiopia, close to the Sudanese border.

The Mursi women are famous for wearing plates in their lower lips. These lip discs are made of clay. Girls are pierced at the age of 15 or 16.The cut is held open by a wooden plug until the wound heals. It appears to be up to the individual girl to decide how far to stretch the lip, by inserting progressively larger plugs over a period of several months. Some, but by no means all, girls persevere until their lips can take plates of 12 centimetres or more in diameter.

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Taken on August 22, 2008