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Why do Ethiopians have lip plates?

Why do Ethiopians have lip plates?

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.

Why do tribes put plates in their lips?

Lip plates or saucers are generally considered to be a “rite of passage” from adolescence to womanhood. According to tradition, a lip plate is evidence of each woman’s fertility and proof that she is ready for marriage. It is meant to show that a girl has reached marriageable age and is ready to become a wife.

Which tribe puts plates in their lips?

Have you ever heard about the Mursi tribe? They live in Omo Valley, an isolated region in Ethiopia. They are one of the last tribes that still wear traditional clothing and accessories. Mursi women are famous for their wooden lip plates – a symbol of beauty and identity.

Does lip plate hurt?

There is no pain at all once the lips are stretched to the satisfaction of the individual. In fact, it is common to see women massaging their lips, or even letting children play with their lips while on their laps.

Do lip plates heal?

The cut is held open by a wooden plug until the wound heals, which can take around 3 months. It appears to be up to the individual girl to decide how far to stretch the lip, by inserting progressively larger plugs over a period of several months.

Do lip plates affect speech?

The custom of lip-plate insertion, as practiced by the Chai people, has an effect on the speech of women since it alters articulators needed for speech production: the lower lip and the lower incisors. Due to the effect of this practice, women cannot produce bilabial and dental consonants in their own language.

What is the meaning of a lip plate?

The lip plate, also known as a lip plug or lip disc, is a form of body modification. Increasingly large discs (usually circular, and made from clay or wood) are inserted into a pierced hole in either the upper or lower lip, or both, thereby stretching it.

How are lip plates inserted?

The initial piercing is done as an incision of the lower lip of 1 to 2 cm length, and a simple wooden peg is inserted. After the wound has healed, which usually takes between two and three weeks, the peg is replaced with a slightly bigger one. At a diameter of about 4 cm, the first lip plate made of clay is inserted.

Can you eat with a lip plate?

People often ask me if the women wear the lip plates all the time and how can they eat with them. The answer is no, they don’t wear them all the time. On the contrary, usually they only put them in when serving meals to their men, and also for ceremonies and other special occasions.

How do lip plates work?