[Ethiopia] Mursi people: Beauty inserted in the lower lip ([埃塞俄比亚]Mursi人，镶嵌在下嘴唇里的美丽)
(Originally published 2012-11-09 00:23:45 by blogger Qian Yang, with 48,688 readers as of 2013-01-05 00:01:45, re-published 2013-01-03 21:26 by travel.163.com, with 340 comments as of 2013-01-05 00:01:45)
Picture 1. When British anthropologists discovered them in the 1970s, the Mursi people had surprisingly never heard of “Ethiopia” — the country in which they live. We crossed mountain after mountain to enter deep into the Mago National Park where they live. From the past up until the present, they have retained the same way of life: men hunt wild animals for a living and women’s lips have discs inserted into them, with larger discs considered more beautiful.
Picture 2. Mursi men are extremely tall and slender. They carry wooden sticks that are as tall as they are, such that they appear to be warriors. Their eyes have a certain wildness and sternness to them. This wildness and sternness becomes more intense as you get closer to their village.
Picture 3. Young Mursi boys often go about undressed, with their whole body, including the face and genitals, painted with white tiger spots.
Picture 4. Flowers of the cannonball tree. The flowers bloom in a vibrant way. Some numbers and symbols have been scrawled onto the tree using white paint. The driver said that this is the natives’ GPS.
Picture 5. We occasionally saw groups of children in twos or threes on the road on our way to Jinka [Trans: town in Southern Ethiopia]. Each time that the car was about to pass them, they started to twist about vigorously. In one photo, they are dancing unselfconsciously while dust swirls around them.
Picture 6. Groups of Ari men. One making a large pot of Areke liquor, with some sitting at the door to someone’s house and some sitting underneath a tree located at the entrance to the village. They drink from noon until night, laughing merrily. As soon as we passed by them, they warmly invited us to drink the liquor. Ari people enjoy inviting people to taste their treasured Areke liquor. But this is not to say that all Omo valley tribes are this friendly. [Trans. The Omo Valley in Ethiopia is home to the Ari, Mursi, Suri, Nyangatom, Dizi and Me’en peoples, among others.]
Picture 7. For example, Mursi people. When we encountered them at the market at Jinka, it was easy to recognize them not only because of the way that they dress, but also because of their facial expressions. Compared to other tribes, they are more guarded and defiant.
Picture 8. There are residents from other tribes who live in Jinka just as the Mursi do. Compared with Mursi people, they are more curious about outsiders, and will more easily talk to strangers in a cheerful and lighthearted manner.
Picture 9. Jinka is a small town that is located close to where the Mursi people live, and is the place to set off from when visiting the Mursi people. Morsi people also go to the Jinka market once every week.
Picture 10. Morsi people regard life in Jinka town as very modernized although the water supply is often cut off and there are power blackouts at regular times during the night.
Picture 11. The Mursi people live in the Mago National Park. It requires more than an hour of driving through the park to reach where the Mursi people live, and different kinds of animals often appear on the road.
Picture 12. The Mago National Park is Ethiopia’s largest and most untamed national park. However, we did not journey from distant parts in order to see animals. The most famous aspect of this park to outsiders might be the Morsi people, who live deep with the Mago National Park. Many animals, including antelope, apes, monkeys, small deer, wild boars continuously appeared next to our car window on our way to the land that the Morsi inhabit.
Picture 13. At the Jinka market. Local handicrafts. Unsophisticated but adorable.
Picture 15. Mursi boy and small dog. Compared to adults, children have a bit more curiosity in their eyes.
Picture 16. Mursi people live deep inside the national park. In the eyes of other tribes who live in the Omo River Valley, Mursi people are stubborn and intractable. They are closed off, unsociable and eccentric, and do not like to interact with other tribes. They have a quite aggressive nature.
Picture 17. What is most eye-catching about the Mursi people, of course, is their women. They start inserting a certain kind of disk into their lower lip from an early age. Before inserting the disk, a small knife is used to cut open a small hole in the lower lip to separate the lower lip from the gum. A small disk is inserted in the hole to open it up and ensure that it does not heal over. Afterwards, the small disk is exchanged for a larger one. Larger disks are considered a more beautiful look. Parents can receive a bride price of tens of cattle when their daughter marries if she is considered to have a large disk.
穆西族最引人注目的，当然是他的女人，从小就开始练习往嘴里放一种盘子，放盘子之 前，先用小刀将下嘴唇和牙龈之间切开一个口子，使下嘴唇与齿根分离。先放一个小盘子把口子撑开，使其不再长回去，然后再换成大盘子。盘子越大，标志着相貌 越美。如果谁的盘子属于最大的那一种，那么到她出嫁时，父母就可以收到几十头牛的彩礼。
Picture 18. Larger lip disks are considered more beautiful. The Morsi tribe’s conception of beauty is of course different from ours. Our guide for the trip into the Mursi village said that Mursi women do not wear their lip disk at all times. When at home, they usually do not insert the disk, only inserting it when going out or dressing up. In this way, it is a little similar to when we wear earrings. Each Morsi woman has several lip disks, with each lip disk having various kinds of patterns on it.
Picture 19. This Mursi woman wanted to sell us her lip disk, but what would we have used it for? After considering it for a while, we could not reach a deal with her. She had no choice but to put her lip disk back on.
Picture 20. This Mursi girl has just started wearing a lip disk, a very small, cork-like one. There are a few bloodstains at the corners of her lips. It must be very painful. She uses some ornaments to cover up her lips.
Picture 21. After we persuaded her to do so, she took off the ornaments she was wearing on her face. More blood started oozing out from the corners of her lips. We asked her whether it was painful. She shook her head.
Picture 22. Although the Mursi tribe has been separated from the outside world for a long time, this has not had an impact on their young women’s desire to be beautiful. They dress themselves up in different kinds of ways. However, residents of Jinka town say that when Mursi women come to the market at Jinka, fewer and fewer of them wear lip disks. As they gradually interact with the outside world, they are also gradually influenced by it. Will the concept of lip disks as beautiful also gradually disappear?
虽然穆西部族长期与外界隔离，可是一点儿不妨碍女孩子们的爱美之心，她们以各种方式装扮自 己。不过居住在金卡镇里的人说，穆西女人，现在来金卡赶集，带唇盘的也越来越少。他们，逐渐接触了外面的世界，也逐渐受到了外面世界的影响，镶嵌在下嘴唇 里的美丽，会不会也会渐渐的消失了吧？
Picture 23. Mursi dwellings and children.
Picture 24. Mursi boy. His eyes also have that bestial wildness about them.
Picture 25. This Mursi boy stared directly at us with a simple, animal-like expression in his eyes. He didn’t try to avoid us in any way. We couldn’t bear but to say “Salaam, Mursi!” to him. He smiled, and his hitherto tightly drawn face loosened up, and he bended over to our car window, looked at himself left and right in front of the rearview mirror and stuck out his tongue.
Comments from 163.com
Blacker than those fucking foreign devils [Netease netizen from Guangzhou, Guangdong]: If I say this is disgusting, no one will disagree, right? (Published 2013-01-04 13:03:18) 68 likes
比他妈鬼子还黑 [网易广东省广州市网友]2013-01-04 13:03:18 发表: 如果我说恶心，我想应该没有人反对吧… 顶
[Netease netizen from Shenzhen, Guangdong]: Respect other people’s culture in the same way that you would want people to not look at you as if you were a dog. (Published 2013-01-04 10:57:24) 31 likes
网易广东省深圳市网友 ip：113.91.*.* 2013-01-04 10:57:24 发表: 尊重人家的文化 就像人家看你不是条狗一样！顶
Colorful Billy Elliot [Netease netizen from Guangzhou, Guangdong]: These women have it hard. (Published 2013-01-04 13:15:26) 25 likes.
色彩舞动人生 [网易广东省广州市网友] 2013-01-04 13:15:26 发表: 这些女人挺苦的。。顶
Hamster that likes to sleep [Netease netizen from Spain]: This tribe must not have the custom of kissing! How do they eat? (Published 2013-01-04 23:07:02)
爱睡觉的地鼠 [网易西班牙网友] 2013-01-04 23:07:02 发表: 这个部族应该没有接吻的风俗吧！怎么 吃饭呀 ？
dhl1202 [Netease netizen from Shanghai]: This is persecution, not beauty. It’s similar to foot binding during the Qing dynasty. (2013-01-04 20:04:40)
[Trans.: Foot binding was the painful custom of binding young girls’s and women’s feet to make them appear smaller. This practice was common in China from around 1000 until the early 20th century.]
dhl1202 [网易上海市网友] 2013-01-04 20:04:40 发表: 这是折磨人，不是美。跟清朝缠小脚一样。