In Native Ethiopia, Tribeswomen in the Suri tribe wear huge lip plates to determine their wedding dowry in cattle.
Suri tribeswomen wear lip plates up to 10 inches wide, the bigger the plate the bigger the payment.
Tori Bohn, 56, a business owner from Bali, Indonesia, captured the stunning images in Kibish — the southwest of the African country.
Kibish is located in the Omo Valley, a region that is home to eight tribes with a total population of roughly 200,000.
Tori spent three days with the Suri tribe learning about their decorative lip plates and told Daily Star UK about the experience.
“I couldn’t take my eyes off the first woman who approached me wearing a large lip plate,” Tori said. “In person, it creates an even greater impression, it’s a practice I wanted to learn more about.”
“The girls make a slice in their lower lip during puberty and remove two of their lower teeth so later in life, they don’t hit against the lip plate,” she said. “They then use a system of ever-increasing sizes of fired clay plates to stretch the lip to extraordinary sizes.”
“They told me that some of the largest plates measured sixteen inches,” Tori said. “To the Suri, the lip plates represent beauty.”
“The larger the plate, the more cattle negotiated for wedding dowries although it seemed the percentage of women choosing to wear a lip plate was getting smaller,” she continued.
“Some of the young women we spoke to who chose to have a lip plate said they didn’t like the difficulty of eating or drooling with the elongated lips.”
“Most though had elongated ear lobes instead and wore large clay disks there,” she said. “The women were quite accommodating in showing us how they put their lip plates in and take them out.”
“They had a great sense of humor and we had a good laugh together.”
It took Tori three days to reach the Suri tribe. There are thought to be around 7,500 Suri tribespeople left and their economy is centered around the tribe’s cattle.
“You must get permits to visit and take all your own tents, food, and water,” Tori said. “We had to hire an armed guard to accompany us throughout our three-day stay. The Suri people were excited to see us as visitors were somewhat rare.”
“Several large sugar plantation factories are being built along the Omo River, which supports this tribe, and many fear this will cause the Suri —and other tribes— to abandon their traditions in exchange for factory work.”
“A bridge across the Omo could bring more groups into this quieter part of the valley. We need to protect these cultures.”