Kayan girl in the stalls while boys play just in front

While Kayan Lahwi (long neck women tribe, original from Myanmar) girls have to stay in the stalls with their heavy neck rings posing for tourists, boys play in the streets of the village, happy. Their faces reflect the happiness of a child that contrasts with the sad faces of their sisters.

Women of the Kayan tribes identify themselves by their forms of dress. Women of the Kayan Lahwi tribe are well known for wearing neck rings, brass coils that are placed around the neck, appearing to lengthen it.

Kayan girl with her neck rings (left). Kayan boys playing like any child (right).

Girls first start to wear rings when they are around 5 years old. Over the years, the coil is replaced by a longer one and more turns are added. The weight of the brass pushes the collar bone down and compresses the rib cage. The neck itself is not lengthened; the appearance of a stretched neck is created by the deformation of the clavicle.

I had the opportunity to hold the necklace and I can affirm that it is heavy, really heavy.


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