Adorning the body

Posted: June 2, 2014 in Omo Valley
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Body adornment is important all around the world and usually, as it is also true for Omo Valley tribes, the time when people put most effort into adorning themselves is before marriage when they are in search of spouses. The pieces of jewelry on the opposite page are only a small selection f the manifold body adornment that can be found in the tribes of Omo Valley. People do not only decorate may parts of the body (e.g. their lips, ears, necks, arms, legs, skin and hair), but they also use huge variety of materials such as metal, beads made of glass and plastic, cowry shells, ostrich shells, leather, clay, wood and fruits of trees. Hammer Girls 1 Probably the most famous body adornments in Omo Valley are the lip plates of Mursi women made from clay or wood. As with many other practices the cutting of the lip for inserting a plate is labeled as ‘harmful traditional practice’ nowadays. Also seen as a ‘harmful traditional practice’ is the wearing of many beads around the neck (up to 7 kg) as practiced by Nyangatom women. As culture changes, so does the way people adorn themselves. As can be seen on the opposite page, women in Kara include pen caps in their necklace and Nyangatom women produce their own plastic beads by melting broken jerry cans.


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