Kayan Lahwi Girl with Neck Rings
One of the oldest known forms of body modification is using neck rings to elongate the neck. According to one story from Myanmar, the neck rings were worn to protect the villagers from tiger attacks, since tigers often clawed at the throats of their victims. Another legend claims that the neck rings were used to make the women of the village less attractive so the men of neighboring tribes would be less likely to kidnap them. If the goal was to make the women look ugly, then the neck rings had the opposite effect. The neck rings gave the women an elegant, beautiful appearance. Even today, they are associated with beauty.
The different cultures in which neck rings are found have varying symbols attached to them. For some, the rings indicate wealth and status. For others, they are a symbol of the faithfulness of a wife to her husband. They are also viewed as a fashion accessory, and the gracefully long neck is seen as beautiful and desirable.
Thanaka is the mustard yellow paste seen on the faces of many Burmese men, women, and children. For over 2,000 years, people have been using this paste as an anti-inflammatory and helps with acne as well as a cooling agent on things such as sunburns. Thanaka comes from the tree bark of the thanaka tree.
© Istvan Kadar Photography