Kayan women

The Kayan are a sub-group of Red Karen (Karenni people), Tibeto-Burman ethnic minority of Myanmar (Burma). Women of this tribe are well known for wearing neck rings, brass coils that are placed around the neck, appearing to lengthen it. 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. The government of Myanmar began discouraging neck rings as it struggled to appear more modern to the developed world. Consequently, many women in Myanmar began breaking the tradition, though a few older women and some of the younger girls in remote villages continued to wear rings.

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