• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Dokkio Sidebar applies AI to make browsing the web faster and more productive. Whenever you open Sidebar, you'll get an AI summary of the web page and can ask any question you like about the content of the page! Try Dokkio Sidebar for free.


Lip Plates and Labrets

This version was saved 14 years ago View current version     Page history
Saved by boselw@u.washington.edu
on May 18, 2009 at 4:01:06 am

Labrets: Lip Plates, Disks, and Pegs





       •••••http://lissanonline.com/blog/?p=340•••••http://www.lars.dj/ethiopia/04%20surma%20mizan%20-%20kibish/F1010001.JPG •••••http://www.jefallbright.net/images/20050804a.gif•••••




Labret (pronounced LAY-bret) is the general term for lip plugs, plates, or disks.  An incision is made in the top or bottom (or both) lips, and something is used to keep the hole in place for a few weeks. Once this has healed the lip is stretched with successively larger accessories, be they clay plates, wooden pegs, or other instruments, until the desired shape and size is acheived.  People may work their entire lives gradually increasing the size of their labrets, or may stop after reaching a relatively modest diameter.


Labrets were a fairly common practice across Africa through the mid 20th century.  Today in Africa only the Mursi people in Ethiopia, the Nuba in Sudan, and the Lobi in West Africa continue to wear their lip disks, pegs or plates, as this form of body modification is a diminishing practice around the world.  It has been debated in the literature for what reason this practice started.  In the Mursi, by far the most famous or infamous group known to wear labrets today, it has been variously suggested that it is meant as an indication of a woman's status or wealth, the amount of cattle that she will be worth at marriage, and as a deterrance to those in the slave trade, with the first two reasons being predicated on the size of the plate.  However, according to David Turton who lived and worked among the Mursi for 30 years, none of these is the case, as marraiges are often arranged before the lip has ever been cut, and due to the simple fact that this is not the only group to practice this form of body modification. He argues that the reasons behind it therefore much be much more nuanced and rooted.




For more info, try these websites:

http://www.ezakwantu.com/Gallery%20Lip%20Plugs%20Lip%20Plate.htm  ••••• general info, but some neat older photographs you can look at.

http://www.mursi.org/life-cycle/lip-plates ••••• essentially a shorter version of the David Turton article referenced, a good overview of the Mursi tribe's labret practice

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Mz1vaTeUSY ••••• a bit of a BBC documentary, not necessarily accurate (see above), but interesting, as it allows you to see people speak about it themselves.


Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.