Monday, November 2, 2009

Body Adornments of the Surma

The Surma are a pastoral people from Ethiopia. They have several forms of body adornment that they practice. These adornments range from gauging the ears to exceptionally detailed face and body painting. One of the more extreme forms of body adornment practiced by the Surmas is body scarification which is a process by which tiny cuts are used to etch designs and patterns into the skin and as the cuts begin to scar the designs become a permanent feature of the skin Another unusual adornment custom is lip plates or lip plugs that are done mainly by the women of the Surmas. Women insert large clay plates into their bottom lips. The larger the plate the more desirable the woman and the higher her dowry is.

An example of scarification.

A young Surma woman with a lip plate and gauged earlobes.

"Body Art: A Means for Self Expression." African Conservancy. Web. 2 Nov. 2009. .
Os, Joseph V. "Vanishing Cultures of Ethiopia's Omo Valley." Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris. Web. 2 Nov. 2009. .


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