This life of ours would not cause you sorrow
if you thought of it as like
the mountain cherry blossoms
which bloom and fade in a day.
MURASAKI SHIKIBU (974-103)
~Japanese Female poet, trans. Kenneth Rexroth~
"Burden Of Beauty" (Thailand/Myanmar)
The Padaung, or the Longnecked Karen, are a minority group within the Karen tribe - one of the largest hill tribe groups in Southeast Asia. However, the Padaung themselves are mainly located within the Kayah State of Myanmar. The custom of lengthening the neck, using continuous brass coils; although they appear to be individual rings can weigh up to 22kg. The coils can lengthen the appearance of the neck by as much as 30 cm.
The weight of the solid brass rings pushes down on the collarbone and xrays have shown it also collapses the lungs giving the impression of a longer neck. There are numerous theories as to the origin of the rings. One reason was to protect the neck from tiger attacks, another, was to deform the neck so that they would not be desirable as concubines for the Burmese court. The main reason given is that it was used as a means of enhancing their beauty.
~Excerpted from Vanishing Cultures Photography by Kieron Nelson.