Fulani noblewoman with tattooed lips and gold earrings, from a large semi-nomadic pastoral settlement
Fulani (Peul, Fulbe, Fula) women of this region often tattoo their lips, gums and the area around the mouth before marriage, a painful aesthetic practice and rite of passage signifying marital status. The extravagant gold earrings or “kwottenai kanye” symbolize the wealth and prestige of a husband or family based largely on the ownership of cattle among the semi-nomadic pastoral Fulani of this region. The earrings are also an aesthetic symbol of cultural pride and identity. They are usually a gift from a husband to his wife or an heirloom passed on to a daughter on the death of her mother. The large earrings are made by local smiths or artisans concentrated mostly in the Mopti region of northern Mali. They are crafted from a 14-karat bar of gold that is first chiseled and heated over a fire, then hammered into thin blades and twisted into a four-lobe shape.
For to love yourself as your are and to aspire for greater virtues, that is the real beauty. Be You for you are immensely beautiful. Radiate your light from within and shine bright the essence of your being~