History of Mursi Tribe and Significance of their Accessories

The Mursi tribe is an indigenous group living in the Omo Valley in southwestern Ethiopia. They are known for their distinctive lip plates and other unique adornments.

The Mursi people have a rich cultural heritage, which includes oral traditions passed down from generation to generation. Their history is closely linked to the land and natural resources that surround them, and their way of life has remained largely unchanged for centuries.

The Mursi are believed to have migrated to the Omo Valley region in the 16th century. They have traditionally been semi-nomadic, moving from place to place in search of water and fertile land for grazing their cattle.

Mursi Tribe Lip Plate Accessories

One of the most distinctive features of the Mursi people is the lip plate worn by women. The practice of wearing lip plates is believed to have started as a way to deter slave traders, who found the Mursi women unattractive with their large, stretched-out lips. Today, the practice is mostly symbolic and serves as a sign of beauty, social status, and cultural identity.

The Mursi people also wear other types of jewelry and accessories, including beaded necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. These adornments are often made from natural materials like wood, bone, and animal hide, and are worn to enhance a person’s appearance and demonstrate their wealth and social status.


Today, the Mursi tribe is recognized as one of Ethiopia’s most distinctive and culturally rich indigenous groups.

The Mursi tribe is known for their unique and striking adornments, which include the following types of accessories:

Types Of Accessories For Mursi Tribe

Lip Plates

The most recognizable accessory of the Mursi people is the lip plate, which is worn by women. The plate is made of clay or wood and is inserted into a hole in the lower lip. Over time, the lip is stretched to accommodate larger and larger plates.

Beaded Necklaces

The Mursi people also wear beaded necklaces, which are often made from natural materials like seeds, shells, and bone. These necklaces can be worn alone or layered for a more dramatic effect.



Mursi men and women wear bracelets made from metal, bone, or animal hide. They are often embellished with intricate designs or carvings.


Mursi women wear large, dangling earrings made from metal or beads. The earrings can be quite heavy and are often supported by a loop of wire that is wrapped around the top of the ear.



The Mursi people wear headbands made from animal hide, which are often adorned with beads or shells.

Body Paint

Body painting is an important part of Mursi culture. They use natural pigments, such as clay and ash, to create intricate designs on their faces and bodies.


All of these accessories play a significant role in Mursi culture, serving as a symbol of beauty, wealth, and social status. They are also an important part of the tribe’s identity and cultural heritage.

One of the most distinctive representations of lip plate was its feature in the movie Black Panther. This representation highlighted and further promoted, and celebrated a unique and important aspect of Mursi culture, and helped to showcase the beauty and diversity of African culture to a global audience.

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