Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Mursi Tribe

The Mursi tribe has a population of less than 10,000 living in the south west of Ethiopia, this tribe could be extinct soon due to droughts and hunting restrictions . This tribe has formed over the past 200 yeas with different communities migrating to the land . The rainfall is limited and the area is volcanic which instantly made me think of the landscape and the environment these people live in , everything must be dry and dusty . This is reflected on there appearance as the paint they use on there bodies appears to have a very mat finish , this will be partly because of the hot temperatures as well . 

Video Found :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PQBqTOn_AA
An interesting insight into the daily rituals of the Mursi  tribe , I found it fascinating how quickly the  natural paste was applied and how the colour depended on what nature has provided as well as the pattern. As the pattern is influenced by the animals which cross their land I would like to look into these animals, their markings and postures . 

Image found : http://cdn.lightgalleries.net/4bd5ec0255078/images/Africa-26-2.jpg
 The head piece is something I am aiming to recreate out of hair , I want the hair to look sculptured and reflect the accessories worn by the Mursi Tribe . I think that the metal colours look beautiful mixed with the dark skin tone and light body paint .

Image found : http://www.timelessethiopia.com/gallery_mursi/images/mursi_tribe%20(22).jpg

An image of the full body paint, which is noticeable now that they have taken inspiration from a zebra on some of the patterns displayed on the body which looks amazing set against the green tree's.
Image found : http://www.nerdygaga.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Mursi-Tribemen-of-Ethiopia.jpg

I really like how the patterns have been carefully placed on the body , but then the paint that has been smudged on the legs . It creates a sense or life and everyday living to the body paint it is obvious that this is done daily and is not something that has been created for the camera . I would like to use this as inspiration for my catwalk images , as it a catwalk image does not have to be perfect it just has to be bold enough for all the audience to see . 
Image found : http://www.mursi.org/life-cycle/images/duelling.jpg
Mursi men take part in Duelling competitions which consists of communities of men coming together and fighting with 2metre long wooden poles . The aim is to get their opponent to the floor using the pole but not the point . The men wear protective clothing which includes :
  • Hand guard 
  • Shin guards - Animal skins 
  • Sisal cord plates to protect elbows and knees 
  • leopard skin on torso 
  • hide skirt 
  • bell round waist
  • Cotton around the head .

The man that wins the fight will be carried around his mothers friends unmarried daughters, these same daughter will also give the male beaded necklaces when the man returns from war and has killed. This shows that the Mursi people have a interest in styling , they also believe that the body paint protects them as well as the accessories . This is something I will need to consider in my designs , I would not want to represent something on the body in the wrong way . For example if I was to place a beaded necklace round a male it would be story boarded because this male killed at war . I like to have reason behind my styling and the colours that are used otherwise I feel this could be where the image would lack in reference to tribes .


Lip plates are something that I have looked into previously however I wanted to return to look at the reasons behind these in more detail . I have found that they originated to try and stop women going into the slave trade, this is because they ahd deformed themselves and would no longer be of use to the traders . It  represents beauty and attracts males to them for marriage, depending of the size of the lip plate the more cattle a women would receive from the males family after marriage . The hole is created by cutting the lip and stretching it with wooden plugs from the age of 15 . It is up to the individual how big the hole they create is , but as I said earlier it helps later in life with their marriage and cattle . The average size is around 12 cm diameter . This a trend that has been in fashion in the recent years of western culture , many young people are adorning their bodies with plugs in their ears and other body parts .
  Image found :http://blog.bodycandy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Wooden-Plugs.jpg

image found :http://qpiercing.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Jared-Suzannes-Wedding-077-440x352.jpg
Image found: http://th09.deviantart.net/fs43/200H/i/2009/072/4/9/Bug_Plugs_by_ModifiedLife.jpg
This is making me want to research further into body adornment and how this is different in every country .

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