Young woman from Mursi village from Southern Ethiopia.
Mursi are largerly known for their custom of inserting a large balsawood or terracotta disk in the lower or upper lip (not for carrying guns ;-)). It is a sign of tribal identity and ornamentation but more importantly it is a useful means of indicating the size of the dowry paid by the family of a husband to that of the bride (a little different from some european customs, I guess ;)).
The size of the disk in this girl's lips is one of the biggest I've seen among other village woman. It is directly proportional to the numberof cattle that are used as payment for 'bridal' transaction.
The disks are not worn ALL the time but only on worthy the effort occassions or in the form of 'dressing' up. Intact lip indicates the girl has not yet reached the age of maturity. Once she does, a little hole is made in her lip and is systematically enlarged throughout the years by wearing disks that increase in their size.
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Critiques | Translate
sengir (4956) 2005-03-26 11:14
I must admit that it's quite shocking, good picture but even better story.
epdrun1 (344) 2005-03-26 11:14
Great note and photo. If TrekEarth is meant to teach about the rest of the world you did a great job here, it shows a culture that many of us do not completely know or understand. It is a very simple photo but also stunning. Great capture. Thanks for sharing.
diaz_sanchez (0) 2005-03-26 11:15
szkok to malo powiedziane:) ja jem obiad teraz:)))swietne podoba mi sie:) znkomite:) probowales?
Geo (1243) 2005-03-26 11:24
Very interesting photo with an excellent informative note. I notice also the decorative scarring on her abdomen.
Truly there are different cultures that are so far from ours it is hard to comprehend them. It makes me wonder what things we do that would seem so strange and perhpas pointless to them.
Thanks for a photo that makes us think.
bip-bip (1837) 2005-03-26 11:28
Although this kind of tradition made me feel uneasy, you did a good job here with a judicious use of DOF and a good composition
tashi-wangmo (30) 2005-03-26 11:30
thanks for your note, that still sound really scary to me...your shot is perfect, even though it make me feel sick i guess we just cannot understand, thanks for sharing this with us!
alexlie (5359) 2005-03-26 11:33
Naprawdę szokujący widok. Jestem pełen podziwu dla tej pani :), pewnie ćwiczyła w ten sposób od początku swojego dzieciństwa. Trudno jest mi to oceniać, w końcu jest odmienna kultura. Dla nich pewnie jest to oznaka piękności. Co do zdjęcia, świetna kompozycja, podoba mi się zarówno pierwszy jak i drugi plan.
jegauth (424) 2005-03-26 11:35
Very nice. Great picture and great story. I have so many questions when I see your picture. What are you doing there? Does she keep that all her life? How does she eat? Sorry for all those stupid questions but your picture really knock me down.
Nice TE mind.
KevRyan (22952) 2005-03-26 11:45
Another learning step from your great photography in Africa.
Thanks for posting this one and for the informative note - I hadn't realised that they do this in Ethiopia (I always thought it was elsewhere) - or that it was related to dowry....or that people did this with the upper lip - as others have said it has stimulated many thoughts.
Albrecht (11281) 2005-03-26 12:35
An amazing and interesting picture. Every picture tells a story..... Great job, regards Albrecht
everlasting (14361) 2005-03-26 13:03
I saw a documentary just recently featuring Muri women. I had seen them before but never without their lips plates in, as you say they only wear them for special occasions, I wasnt aware of that.
I am very nosey and would love to know what you were doing in the village. By the close proximity of you and the women i feel they know you. Do you work there?
kdien (9295) 2005-03-26 13:10
Różne są ideały kobiecego piękna. Wspaniale utrwalona "miss" innej kultury. Wspaniale. Gratuluję
AmiBe (6042) 2005-03-26 13:41
Interesting picture, good note. A TE spirit shot !
Very strange custom, thank's for sharing.
bullabulla (3488) 2005-03-26 13:53
very impressing the Mursi people it is a great composition with the two charater blurred behind.
Thanks for the useful information as well.
capthaddock (28790) 2005-03-26 14:02
Whoah - thats gotta hurt. I agree this is one of the most interesting portraits I've seen on TE or anywhere, and I've been a subscriber to National Geographic since childhood.
naxius (16685) 2005-03-26 14:43
Your photo is really instructive Krzysztof.
HOw could we imagine having such disk on our lips?!
That's incredible how our body can support such pain and adapt itself to this pain.
Thank you for sharing with us.
mdchachi (1617) 2005-03-26 15:22
Really great shot. Good use of DOF and good job capturing your subject as if she had no awareness of the camera. This shot fits TE's teach-us-about-the-world goal perhaps more than any other.
alimo3 (6854) 2005-03-26 18:15
your picture is really incredible and very interesting.
this disk seems so big and heavy !
a nice and strong image.
Congratulation and thank for sharing.
fiedziu (1764) 2005-03-26 18:24
DAM (153) 2005-03-26 18:26
All I have to say is that this pictures if very graphic. OUCH....that has to hurt. Great photo. National Geographic material. Thanks
rbcy1974 (20758) 2005-03-26 20:08
Krzystof, I think the size of her mouth is more shocking than the other lad's gun. Its very interesting picture. While I like the blurred scene in the background, I wonder if having your cast of characters agaisnt and even more undiscernable background might be interesting.
DaveMacPhee (1140) 2005-03-27 0:34
Wow, thanks for sharing this. This is defines the purpose of TE. This is unquestionably the most interesting photo I've seen so far.
Saar (571) 2005-03-27 3:28
Ouch, this looks very uncomfartable.. but what a great capture. Amazing when you think of the big differences in culture and tradition around the world.
You did a very good good job here. Especially with the two other women, blurred, in the background. The frontwoman takes a different position. Literally, with the distance towards the other two, and with her immense BIG plate! Amazing..
gaby (19819) 2005-03-27 6:51
a very strong and incredible shot - superb -
Thanks for sharing
sohrab (7439) 2005-03-27 12:13
a very nice shot
this is the first time i've seen this out of an NG issue
how did you get to this place and be amongst these people
is this tribe taken over by the tourist culture that allowed you to be here, or are you an anthropologist or something like that?
take care :)
igorb (758) 2005-03-28 7:03
Im envy to you for your experience.
By the way, extraordinary photo, no comment
michel_r (1118) 2005-03-28 21:06
Probably the one i prefer together with the man and a gun. Beyond the information, a beautiful set of colors and a strange expression? in the woman's face. thznks a lot fr tour pictures of africa.
perryhooter (2424) 2005-03-28 21:34
I will repeat myself a few times. But I must do it , Your images are great. Even if I do not like what I see , but this is real life you captured in such a remote place. It is unreal the things people can do their body to make in an attempt to make them look better or scarier. My personnal choice , I prefer a true bare naked human body instead of heavy make-up, tattoos, artifices, etc....
But your photos are just showing the naked truth. Disturbing but well done. Continue your great adventure and keep us posted.
Sad detail. How can a young girl accept such look, when I suppose they intend to be seductive to find a partner in life? Once they remove those disks, I can barely imagine the look of the lips afterwards hanging down.
This is why I have to say it again ! keep on sharing. You are a good ambassador for TE.
jrzufferey (7301) 2005-03-29 13:08
Je respecte et je ne porte aucun jugement sur les pratiques et les coutumes des différentes ethnies vivant sur la plančte, mais je dois reconnaître que certaines images sont plus difficiles ŕ comprendre que d'autres. Amicalement/jr
eflowers (674) 2005-03-29 13:44
wow. this really is a bit shocking. the weight of it is stretching her whole face downward. do you know what they do to form the bumps like she has on her stomach? was it very difficult to travel to this place?
Curioso (9271) 2005-04-05 16:37
Incredible picture. It tells us how much remote places can develop specific and strong cultures. I wish I could visit such places one day.
Again, your post is among the best TE contributions since it tells us about the people from today and from the past on the Earth.
Are they gun bullets that we can see on the back of her head ???
greg (2835) 2005-04-06 11:11
Very impressive and interesting image, Krzysztof. You say the disc is a sign of the size of dowry: does that mean that a bride of higher status must stretch the lip further, or is it the other way around - a bride who manages to stretch it further becomes of higher status?
puciu (498) 2005-04-07 12:27
Krzysztofie, seria afrykańska jest bardzo ciekawa ja wybrałem to zdjęcie.
maciekda (19895) 2005-04-29 15:17
brr. no kolejne zdjecie podroznicze. modelka jest nieprzecietna. w tle jak zwykle balagan ;) "przycieta z prawej" gupka ludzi. no i modelka akurat komus do zdjecia pozowala, no chyba ze sie tak nagle zamyslila na srodku placu ;) ale i tak zdjecie jest fajne
bboss (3578) 2005-04-30 12:53
Wow, this is just amazing.I just love the fact that the world has so many different possibilities for life, so much variety. Sometimes it feels like its gradually being shrunk, everyone becoming more and more the same, and then I see a photo like this to remind me that all that variety is still out there. It is so good to know. Thanks for reminding me
elihesamian (26149) 2005-05-07 23:57
It's a great TE shot,Krzysztof!
many years ago I saw a pic about this people,and it was amazing for me,but now I see another strong view about there and them which is very live with a great note.indeed amazing people but you show them nicely in a best way and respectful.
DOF,Details,colors and contrast ,...all are fine and excellent,I'm thankful for your great posting and sharing here.
nicely worked and very well composed,too.
Aazragi (1927) 2005-05-14 22:16
Wow, that is really an amazing picture. Is the picture true? How you catch that? They didnt tell you some thing? Great work you done.
keribar (43841) 2005-05-24 12:23
Krzysztof, I am really shocked too.
The picture is very good but the impact and the message is even greater. As a civilized person, I think that these tribal customs should be abolished by the law, it reminds me the Chinese Women with small shoes, or the long neck women of Burma: China has certainly forgotten the small shoes, but there are some villages
near Inle Lake who practice it. Perhaps for getting money from tourists, I am not sure. Izzet Keribar
marieaude (1196) 2005-06-13 14:04
Great photo of this so strange costume. For european people, it's look really different, each country has different idea of beauty. Your photo is beautiful and well done. I like the colours too. Thanbks for sharing
Active (56) 2005-10-24 16:53
Oj biedne etiopskie kobiety!
Nie ukrywam zdjecie robi mega wrazenie, patrzy sie na nie z podziwem i jakas checia zrozumienia ichniej kultury. Opis przeczytalam z wielkim zainteresowaniem.
Cos mi sie zdaje, ze Twoje zdjecia stana sie moimi ulubionymi...a i dowiem sie paru ciekawych rzeczy z tego swiata :)
gelor (3229) 2005-11-20 10:31
Trčs intéressant ! Le voyage par vos photos se poursuit et la documentation est toujours aussi bonne. Merci beaucoup pour le partage et bravo. Gérard
ramesh_lalwani (3211) 2005-12-19 2:15
Really shocking.The girl must be in pain.TFS
Owca (92) 2006-01-25 12:30
Świetna i zarazem szokująca fotografia. Jak one to zakładają?
Pozdrawiam użytkownika Yashicy:)))
yogi32 (821) 2006-02-07 16:01
jak rozumiem tak pojmowane jest piękno kobiety w jakimś plemieniu w Etiopii, przyznam że dla mnie to szok,
a jak się czułeś ty obracając się wśród ideałów piekna bedąc w wiosce gdzie zamieszkuje to plemię?
w sumie o tych krążkach słyszałem już jakiś czas temu, ale twoje zdjęcia idealnie oddają klimat Afryki i ludzi tam mieszkających,
zdjęcie jest bardzo ciekawe,
MLINES (12516) 2006-06-11 19:33
Hi Krzysztof, Interesting to see this style of "beauty" i thought they had stopped the tradition by now, Must be tricky to eat like that at the wedding. Very clear and colourful. Amazing to see this. Thanks for sharing. Murray.
branley (3681) 2006-07-23 15:08
I don't have the words to describe this photograph so I won't even try, suffice to say it's amazing.
danos (83093) 2007-01-09 15:51
what a nice shot but at the same time and scary for our civilization.Your note are very enlightenning. Very strange custom for these unhappy women.
I_WanderingSoul (686) 2008-11-04 23:17
Wow! shocking revelation I must say! very informative picture along with an equally informative note! this truly teaches me of the worlds i don't know about.
Great work Krzysztof.
leiju (1697) 2009-11-25 7:18
Hey, interesting picture, as said by so many before me.
If I may allow myself to simply comment on your note: as You talk about dowry here I am a bit confused. Dowry is usually paid by the bride's family to the husband's, however here You mention a sum paid to the bride's family? If it is as You describe it, then it is a bride price. Not trying to be picky, just trying to clarify which way the transaction goes as I find it quite an intriguing custom.
Thanks for bringing back such an intriguing shot!
We truly are an amazingly diverse specie with an endless variety of ways to build our existence!
- Copyright: Krzysztof Pakulski (Paker) (2650)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2004-01-00
- Categories: Daily Life
- Camera: Yashica FXD, 50mm f1.4, Fuji Superia 100
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Theme(s): African Life & People, when i dream i see people [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2005-03-26 11:08
- Favorites: 16 [view]