Mursi lips

Amazing African Tribal Traditions — The lip plates of the Mursi

Last updated on September 11th, 2021 at 03:32 pm

The Mursi tribe of Ethiopia is one of the last tribes in Africa where it’s the norm for women to wear large pottery or wooden plates in their lower lips. When a Mursi girl reaches the age of 15 or 16, her lower lip is cut by her mother or another older woman in the settlement.

The cut is held open by a wooden plug for about three months while it heals. Mursi members are rather egalitarian – girls are never forced to have their lip pierced; it’s a totally personal choice. (Of course, 16 is the prime age for peer pressure no matter your culture, and this is often the reason girls opt for the lip plate.)