An Australian film crew led by cinematographer Abrahem Joffe was filming in southern Ethiopia when they stumbled upon Ataye Eligidagne. The 20-year-old Mursi woman dons the largest lip plate in the world. At a whopping 59.5cm in circumference and 19.5cm in diameter, her hardened clay disc is more than twice the size of the average disc, and even the locals are impressed.
The long-running tradition of wearing lip plates dates back to the 1800’s amongst the Surma and Mursi women of the lower Omo River valley in Ethiopia. This extreme body modification is done to attract a husband, as well as to command a dowry for the woman’s family; the larger the plate, the more cattle her family gets.
The woman’s lip is pierced about 6 to 12 months before her marriage by her mother or female relatives, usually at the age of 15 to 18. The procedure involves knocking out the bottom two teeth and the insertion of a wooden peg into an incision on the bottom lip.
Eligidagne has been stretching her lips for three years since the initial piercing. While the lip plate looks painful to wear, Eligidagne claims there is no pain at all and there hadn’t been any adverse effects. Share her incredible body piercing with others below.