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(Padaung, Ka-Kaung)

The Padaung, or Ka-Kaung as they call themselves, are a sub-group of the Karen.  Ka-Kaung means 'people who live on top of the hill'.  Padaung women are often referred to as 'giraffe' or 'long-necked' because of the custom of placing brass rings around their necks from when they are young girls until they marry.  The practice is fast disappearing.  In fact it is not the neck which has stretched but the shoulders which have been forced down by the weight and pressure of the rings.  Unfortunately they are most likely to be seen paraded like animals in a zoo - which is how the first and last set of photos were taken.  The first photos were taken in December 1988 down the Pai river from Mae Hong Son in Thailand on the border with Kayah State in Myanmar - probably where the women originated.  The middle set of photos were taken in Kalaw market in Shan State, Myanmar in September 1998 when two Padaung women walked through the market with shawls almost concealing their neck rings from view.  The last set of photos were taken on the same 1998 visit and show two Padaung women living in traditional houses built in the grounds of a hotel on the edge of Lake Inle, Shan State, Myanmar.

all text & images Pamela A Cross

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to Jpeg 139K Map of Myanmar and Thai border

Padaung women near Mae Hong Son, Thailand close to the border with Kayah State, Myanmar

Jpeg 58K Padaung woman at the door of her house 8812j01

Jpeg 25K Padaung woman cooking 8812i23

Jpeg 81K Padaung woman sitting on a bench 8812j06B

Jpeg 54K Thai guide offering anti-malaria tablets to Padaung woman 8812j02

Jpeg 42K Padaung woman outside the back of her house 8823i22

Jpeg 45K Padaung woman sitting in the verandah of her house 8812J04A


Padaung women shopping in Kalaw market, Shan State, Myanmar

Jpeg 65K 2 Padaung women at Kalaw market 9809i09

Jpeg 50K Padaung woman at Kalaw market 9809i11

Jpeg 57K Woman sheltering from the sun at Kalaw market 9809i12

Jpeg 69K 2 women examining wares in Kalaw market 9809i16


Padaung women living in houses in the grounds of a hotel on the edges of Lake Inle, Shan State, Myanmar

Jpeg 58K Palaung woman outside her house 9809q02t

Jpeg 50K Palaung woman outside her house 9809q03

Jpeg 44K Close-up of Padaung woman showing neck rings 9809q04

Jpeg 54K 2 Padaung women outside a house 9809q05

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Copyright © 2012 Pamela A Cross. The contents of this site, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, non-commercial use only and may not be reproduced in any form without the express permission of Pamela A Cross.
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this page last updated 2 January, 2004