A tribe in Central Africa, north eastern Congo had a rather distinctive look. It involved binding the head tightly to deform it to a conical head shape as below.
A baby’s head would be tightly wrapped in a custom called ‘Lipombo.’ It would begin a month after birth and continue for the next couple of years until the desired shape was reached. The practice was seen as a status symbol denoting majesty, power, beauty and higher intelligence.
Perhaps surprisingly the practice did not necessarily affect the brain which is soft and malleable in a baby’s head and simply follows the prevailing shape of it’s container.
The practice began to die out as late as the 1950’s upon the arrival of westerners. It was also outlawed by the Belgian government who ruled colonial Congo at the time.
It is interesting that most images of this physical deformity are women. Although I have seen a few men bearing the conical head shape.
What Say You?
How does this practice strike you?
Think you would have taken part in this practice had you found yourself in this location pre 1950?