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Doug J | all galleries >> Northern Thailand Galleries >> Chiang Rai & Golden Triangle > Long Neck Karen tribe - The Padaung
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Long Neck Karen tribe - The Padaung

Most people know of the Karen people from television and magazine documentaries. The women who wear these brass rings on their neck belong to a sub-group of the Karen tribe known as the Padaung.

There are different accounts of why the Padaung practice this bizzare custom. Their own mythology explains that it is done to prevent tigers from biting them! Others have reported that it is done to make the women unattractive so they are less likely to be captured by slave traders. The most common explanation, though, is the opposite of this - that an extra-long neck is considered a sign of great beauty and wealth and that it will attract a better husband. Adultery, though, is said to be punished by removal of the rings. In this case, since the neck muscles will have been severely weakened by years of not supporting the neck, a woman must spend the rest of her life lying down. According to Paul and Elaine Lewis in Peoples of The Golden Triangle, adultery and divorce among all Karen groups is extremely low.

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haabet200324-Nov-2008 00:04
Divorce among all Karen groups is extremely low, because they all are matrilinear or matriarchy. The man have nothing to say over a woman. Adultery?! The idea by female order of succession is: You know the mother certain, but not the father.

The rings are a brass coil collar in one or two parts. They can stop the use of coil collar. But the ribs is changed ad they are permanent straight-backed.

In the matriarchy tribes the women wear heavily ornaments, because they are proud of there femininity. The kings of Burma have give the best farmland to the soldiers. As the 109 matrilinear and matriarchy tribes only have mountains and marsh. The brass coil collars are only a little used, because the brass demand wash in fresh water two times every day in the year, and the dry season is long.

A.Arif05-Feb-2008 00:22
nice shot I've shot her too :)
Doug J09-Apr-2005 23:08
There is enough room to introduce water at the top of the "rings". These 2 rings are actually solid brass, wrapped in a spiral and are removed only to add more and extend the length. The neck does not actually stretch, the colarbone and rib cage are compressed and pushed downward.
Donovan O' 09-Apr-2005 22:33
A question: How do they bathe their neck? Also it is my understanding that the neck does not get longer but the other bones are more or less distorted into the "brace" as they grow like a rat going through a small hole. Am I wrong?