Face decorated Nuer woman

Nuer, Ethiopia, Sudan, body decoration, face,
Face decorated Nuer lady

The Nuer ethnic group belong to the Nilotic language group.  The origin of the Nuer (they call themselves Naath, meaning ‘people’)  is  in Sudan (of today) west to the river Nile. They were part of a bigger group, which include the Dinka and the Atwot (Atuot). The three groups are related and speak the same language.

About 200 years ago, the Nuer separated from the Dinka, Crossed the Nile river and migrated east.  As other Nilotic groups, The economy of the Nuer is based on cattle, which they value so much, that each man is called by his favorite oxen name.  Since the number of cattle head gives a men prestige, they eat meat only in ceremonies. Most food they get from  fishing Nile-perch , and from agriculture.

The Nuer are divided to clans and sub-clans. Marriage must be outside ones clan. The woman family paid cattle by the man family, than she moves to his household. She will not be considered fully married, till she born at least two children.

Traditionally, matured boys are circumcised, and than marked with six parallel scars on their forehead. The women used to decorate their faces with dots, as you can see in this photo.