The Thai stretched Neck Tribe
Men may have originally have put the rings on their women to deter slave traders, though other superstitions could have played a part, like the warding off of Tigers.
The Thai stretched Neck Tribe
Surely one of the most incredible examples of bizarre body decoration on earth is exhibited proudly by the so-called Long-Necked Karan hill tribes, immigrants from Burma
These Karieng Koh Yao, as the Thai people dub them, are a unique group, part of the greater Karan people of Burma-Thailand borders area. Originally, no Padaung lived in Thailand, but about 300 of these people abandoned the Shan State, in Burma in 1987, because of civil war, crossingthe border to find safety.
Hoping to go home when peace returns to their land, the Padaung women, unlike the other hill tribe females, wear spectacular costumes, which are completely unique. Men dress similarly to other tribesmen, but the females wear neck bands, of brass coils varieing from 5 to 25 in number, as the woman concerned ages.
The idea that this is done to lengthen the neck as much as possible is actually an illusion, but these rings are considered true marks of beauty, eagerly donned by the girls. As the coils are added, the collar bone and ribs are pushed downwards, making the neck seem longer
Paralysis and death would result from actually stretching the neck, though removing the coils does not cause the neck to collapse, though the muscles are weakened. Men may have originally have put the rings on their women to deter slave traders, though other superstitions could have played a part, like the warding off of Tigers,
Kayan mythology recounts the beauty of the long-necked dragon, impregnated by the wind before giving birth to the first of the Kayan race, so perhaps women wear neck rings to honor the legendary dragon. Girls begin wearing the first four rings at 5 or 6, one added each year, so that, by adulthood, she may have 25 brass rings, extending from collar bones up to ear lobes, up to 30 centimeters long and, 8 kilos in wieght
Traditional dress of Padaung women is similar to other Karen tribes, forearms decorated with heavy silver bracelets, while below each knee, brass rings similar to the neck rings are worn. While this highly unusual tradition looks uncomfortable to onlookers, Padaung women are proud of their unique cultural heritage, and love their neck rings with a fierce passion.
Up to 10,000 tourists visit these amazing women annually, and that is the problem for them, in wanting to go home. Long-neck women and girls posing for photographs, and earning money for themselves and the local economy, have become a vital part of local economic life, and the Thai authorities do not want to let them go. There is a certain sadness in that, but hopefully the situation will resolve itself soon. There truly is nothing on earth stranger than humanity, as these proud Giraffe women, with the long necks that, they believe make them seem SO sexy, are surely proof of that inescapable fact.