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From The Land of Origins Ethiopia

Mursi woman with a Kalashnikov in the Lower Omo Valley.🇪🇹

The Mursi Tribe are found in the far southwest corner of Ethiopia, just north of the #Kenyan🇰🇪 border in the valley of the River Omo. Here in the remote Omo Valley palaeontologists have discovered some of the oldest human remains on earth and the tribes who live there today still follow many ancient practises.

The Mursi Tribe, of which there are less than 15,000, are well known for the large plates the women wear in their lower lip.The custom of wearing a lip plate is linked to the female’s fertility and eligibility for marriage.

When a Mursi girl reaches puberty (around age 15 to 16) she will have her lip cut by a female member of the tribe and a small wooden stick is inserted. The lip is then slowly stretched over a period of time, first by inserting larger sticks each night and eventually by wearing plates of various size and decoration.

It is said that a woman who does not wear a lip plate is considered lazy and will not warrant as large a bride wealth (a dowry which usually consists of a certain number of cattle). With some lip plates reaching up to 12 centimetres in diameter, it is certainly a mark of perseverance and bravery on the behalf of the woman who wears it.

The lip pates, which may be made from wood or clay, are generally worn by single or newly married #women at four main occasions: when serving food to men, at special events (like weddings), at donga duelling competitions and at dances. After a number of years of marriage the #woman may slowly stop wearing her lip plate, removing it altogether if her husband passes away.

Young Mursi men prove themselves to their future #wives by taking part in a donga, a form of ceremonial duelling. Contenders wear a duelling kit known as umoga, which provides protection as well as decoration, and usually involves shin guards made from #animal skin.

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