Turkana woman wearing lip-plug

Turkana woman wearing lip-plug

Turkana woman wearing an ivory lip-plug. Although not as extreme as the huge disks worn in the bottom lip by some Sudanese and Ethiopian peoples, the use of the lip-plug among the Turkana is now extremely rare, and generally only seen on old women. As far as I'm aware, the reasons for wearing it are unknown, although some say that it was to protect the tribe from slave raiders, the logic being that slavers were unlikely to want "deformed" slaves with great big holes in their mouths!

Credit: photo scanned from a series of slides produced by KAS-Co (Nairobi, Kenya).

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