Today, most ladies across the world have resorted to different modifications of their bodies including ear and nose piercing, body reshaping, bleaching among others, all in the name of “beauty”.
Some of us have often come across to pictures of lip-plated women on various platforms but rarely take them serious, thinking it’s even hoax.
This practice is known as lip-plating or lip-disking.
This exits in a few tribes in Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Have you ever heard about the Mursi tribe?
The Mursi are a Surmic ethnic group in Ethiopia.
They principally reside in the Debub Omo Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region, close to the border with South Sudan.
They are one of the last tribes that still wear traditional clothing and accessories.
Mursi women are famous for their wooden lip plates.
A girl’s lower, upper or both lips are cut when she reaches 15 or 16, and held open by a sodden plug until it heals. It’s up to the girls how far they want the lip to be stretched.
Guess what my friend, this very painful process is done in the name of “beauty”.
Secondly, it marks a commitment to the husband because it is worn with great pride when serving him food. If the husband dies, the lip plate is removed since a woman’s external beauty is said to fade after his death.
Lastly, the plate is a powerful visual marker of Mursi identity. Without it, they run the risk of being mistaken for a member of another tribe.
Through the years, larger plates are inserted into the lip causing it to stretch; the larger the clay plate, the more the woman is worth before she gets married.
Lip plates are more frequently worn by unmarried girls and newlywed women than by older married women with children.
They are generally worn on occasions such as serving men food, milking cows, and important rituals like weddings.
Unmarried girls, especially those with large labrets, might wear them whenever they are in public.
It’s expected that a boyfriend or husband will not sleep with his girlfriend or his bride until her lip has fully healed.