vintage, nostalgia and memories


February 17, 2016

Kayan People: 17 Amazing Vintage Photos of “Giraffe Women” in the 1950s

The Kayan Lahwi people, also known as Padaung, are an ethnic group with populations in Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand. 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. The women wearing these coils are known as "giraffe women" to tourists.

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.


Many ideas regarding why the coils are worn have been suggested, often formed by visiting anthropologists, who have hypothesized that the rings protected women from becoming slaves by making them less attractive to other tribes. It has also been theorised that the coils originate from the desire to look more attractive by exaggerating sexual dimorphism, as women have more slender necks than men. It has also been suggested that the coils give the women resemblance to a dragon, an important figure in Kayan folklore. The coils might be meant to protect from tiger bites, perhaps literally, but probably symbolically.

Kayan women, when asked, acknowledge these ideas, and often say that their purpose for wearing the rings is cultural identity (one associated with beauty). Some amazing vintage photos of them below taken in the middle 1950s will give you a better idea.


















(Photos from collection of old photos)

0 comments:

Post a Comment


FOLLOW US
FacebookTumblrPinterestRSS

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

12 Things You May Not Know About Halloween

Halloween. Odds are, you think of it as one of the best holidays of the year. If you really stop to think about Halloween and all the bizarr...

Browse by Decades

Popular Posts

Random Posts