The Mursi or Mursu people are the most popular in Ethiopia's Omo Valley. They are well known for their unique lip plates. They are settled around the Omo River and in the Mago National Park since they have to move accordingly with the climate. They herd cattle and grow crops along the banks of the Omo River.
The Mursi women paint their bodies and face in white. They also are the ones who wear the lip plates. Women of the Mursi tribe may have their lips cut at the age of 15 or 16. A small clay plate is then inserted into the lip. Through the years, larger plates are inserted into the lip causing it to stretch. The larger the clay plate, the more the woman is worth before she gets married. It is said that the clay plates were originally used to prevent capture by slave traders.
Although very unique and part of their tradition, the Mursi women only wear the plates for a short time because they are so heavy and uncomfortable. Men of the Mursi also use white paint for their bodies and faces. Just like many other ethnic tribes in the lower Omo valley, the men must pass a test before they can get married. A Mursi man is given a stick called a Donga and must face one opponent to determine who he will marry. They also practice scarification if they have killed an enemy or a wild animal.