The strange tradition of lip veneer fashion in Africa

Lip plating is a body modification common to many African tribes, especially women in Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan. Lip plates or discs, as often called, are made of clay or wood about 5 cm in size and placed in the lower lip; approximately three to four teeth are removed to allow the disc to fit properly.

A girl reaching puberty; should have his first plate repaired. His lower lip is cut off by a female member of his family or tribe, usually the mother.

The level of stretch depends on the girl; over the years, she may decide to continue stretching it; and as such larger plates are continually attached until the lip can accommodate a twelve centimeter disc.

A controversial belief about how lip plating became a thing is that community members started the practice so that the women of the tribe could look ugly to outsiders who came to the country. Other meanings and beliefs have been attached to the wear of these lip plates.

Many believe that her wear symbolizes a young girl’s transition into womanhood. Others believe that wearing lip plates is a sign of a woman’s self-esteem and worth; the wider the lip plates, the more the dowry is perceived by the family.

Today, only one particular tribe in Ethiopia still practices this tradition; they are known as the Mursi tribe; It is surprising to see that in the midst of civilization and globalization, this tribe has decided to carry on its tradition.

This makes the Mursi tribe a top tourist attraction as photographers from all over the world travel to Ethiopia to capture their raw beauty.

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