The Mangbetu – Something Special About The Mangbetu Women In Central Africa.....

Mangbetu Women:

The Mangbetu people had a distinctive look and this was partly due to their elongated heads.

At birth the heads of babies’ were tightly wrapped with cloth in order to give their heads the elongated look. 

The custom of skull elongation called by the natives Lipombo, was a status symbol among the Mangbetu ruling classes, it denoted majesty, beauty, power and higher intelligence.

Deformation usually begins just a month after birth for the next couple of years until the desired shape has been reached or the child rejects the apparatus.

The practice began dying out in the 1950s with the arrival of more Europeans and westernization. 

It was also outlawed by the Belgian government, who ruled over colonial Congo. This deformation usually didn’t affect the brain. As long as intracranial pressure remains the same as with a normal person, the brain should was able to adapt and grow into the new shape of the skull, resulting in no damage beyond cosmetic changes.

The brain is a developmentally plastic organ and grows (expands) in the shape it’s given.

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