Saturday, February 2, 2013

Kayaw and Padaung peoples

Kayaw is another Karen sub group. The women and girls in this tribe add painted decorative elements to their faces as part of their traditional dress. They were quite beautiful and distinctive in their look. Black striped skirts are worn with brightly coloured, hand woven tunics. Silver is used to adorn their dress, but the main feature of this tribe is their use of brass rings around their legs. These rings, worn at the knee and the ankle on each leg are seen as enhancing natural beauty and are a prized part of their traditional dress.
It is the Paduang however who take the idea of enhancing natural furthest by wearing not only rings on their legs, but also their necks. Again, there is much discussion about the continued viability of this practice. From what I understand the rings actually push the shoulders down, making the neck look longer, rather than actually distorting the shape or impacting the functionality of the neck. Women only wear the rings, with girls having their first set put on when they are about five years old. After the second set is added, it seems an additional ring is added each year until the girl marries. This is what I gather from reading Vanishing Tribes of Burma in the library at the resort.
Whether you agree with the practice or not, it is evident that the wearing of rings is an important part of this tribes culture. They show pride in doing so, this much was evident. 31.1.21013

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