Kareni Hill Tribe Villager

There are many different accounts as to why Kareni females practice the bizarre custom of adorning brass neck rings.

Their own mythology explains that it is done prevent females from being attacked by tigers whilst out in the jungle and being bitten on the most vulnerable part of the body. Others have reported that it is done to make the women less attractive so they are less likely to be captured by slave traders.

The most common explanation, though, is the opposite of this and that an extra-long neck is considered a sign of great beauty and wealth and that it will attract a better husband.

The brass rings are first added to a female child's neck between the ages of five to six years old and are never removed. The weight of the brass rings pushes down the collar bone, as well as the upper ribs, to such an extent that the collar bone actually appears to be part of the neck.
Chaing Dao, Thailand. 2006
Stephen Mc Donald