In a small village, deep in the Thai jungle, a woman sits under a bamboo roof spinning yarn by hand. Her neck is adorned with shiny brass rings that almost makes her look abnormal in the most fascinating manner. It’s hard not to stare.
She’s part of a Burmese refugee group who live in the borderland between Burma and Thailand. Here, the women wear brass coils around their necks as a symbol of wealth, position and beauty.
The people are called Padaung, which means ‘long neck’, but if you ask them, they prefer to be called Kayan.
They have lived on the border between Thailand and Burma since 1995, with no permission to leave.
The Kayan tribe represent 7% of the Burmese population of 50 million.
In average, the neck rings weigh 5 kilo. Some weigh up to 10 kilo.
Kayan tribe women says that their purpose for wearing the neck rings is cultural identity. One associated with beauty, wealth and status.
Another Burmese tribe is the Long Ears. They believe the ears are one of the most sacred parts of the body, and therefore they wear large earrings.
This tradition is for married women only.
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