These plates are said to be attractive to men. The larger the plate, the bigger the dowry to be paid interms of cows.
The custom of wearing a lip plate in Mursi Tribe is also linked to the females 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.
The lip is then slowly stretched over a period of time. It is said that a woman who does not wear a lip plate is considered lazy and will not warrant as large a bride wealth (a dowry which usually consists of a certain number of cattle).
With some lip plates reaching up to 12 cm in diameter, it is certainly a mark of beauty, perseverance and bravery on the woman who wears it. Some also think it helps the woman not to talk too much in a home to avoid marital fights with her husband.
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