Amazing Vintage Portraits of Padaung Women in the 1950s
Padaung is a Shan term for the Kayan Lahwi, the group in which women wear the brass neck coils.
The Kayan Lahwi people (Padaung) are an ethnic group from Myanmar and Thailand. Many Padaung girls have their necks fitted with the first spiral coil at the age of five; after two years, a second coil is added. Up to 25 coils can be fitted on a woman’s neck.
The vintage photos below taken were taken in the 1950s. Take a look.
The origin of this custom is wrapped in mystery. Many believe that this is a way to make women less attractive to slave traders. While others think that it’s the tribe’s way to protect their throat from tigers.
The most commonly accepted theory, however, is that the purpose of the coils is to establish cultural identity, one associated with beauty — a long neck is considered a mark of great beauty.