Just like the thousands of tribes across the globe, the Mursi tribe presents a unique cultural traits that distinguished them from all other tribes.
The Mursi people are located in an isolated Valley called Omo in Ethiopia. They are usually decorated in traditional clothing and accessories.
One of the things that defines the uniqueness of Mursi women is their lip-plates.The lip plate is a large disc made from pottery or wood and worn in a woman’s bottom lip.
The Mursi tribe of Ethiopia is the last tribe in Africa where it is normal for women to wear a wooden disc or plate on their lower lip. At the age of 15 or 16, a girl is free to decide whether or not she wants her lower lip cut.
In the case that she does, her mother or any other elderly woman in the community helps her to cut the lower lip and places a wooden disc in it several months whiles it heals.
Interestingly, unmarried and newlyweds women turn to wear the lip-plates regularly than older married women.
Wearing the lip plate has three major significance amongst the Mursi tribe.
1. It is a symbol of beauty: the lip plate defines the beauty of a Mursi woman, and so, she wears it with pride and confidence. The lip plate is seen as a boost of self esteem as it enhances the beauty of women. Due to the self worth attached to it, some girls voluntarily widen the size of their plates.
2. It portrays ethnic identity: the lip plate is believed to represent a strong sense of identity amongst the people of Mursi, without which one could be mistaken as a member of another tribe.
3. It is a sign of commitment of women to their husbands: Mursi women demonstrates their life time commitment for their husbands by wearing the plate especially when serving food for them.
This identity is said to attract tourists to the settlement.