One of the most striking ethnic tribes in Myanmar are the Padaung, a sub-group of the Karen – only indigenous to the Kayah State of Myanmar. Most of them are animists, with a belief in natural ghosts and shamanism practices. Some Padaungs have converted to christianity or buddhism. There are many different reasons why the Tibeto-Mongolian tribe practice the bizzare custom of the coils on their necks. Their own mythology explains that it is done to prevent tigers from biting them. Others have reported that it made the women unattractive so they are less likely to be captured by slave traders of the burman kings. The most common explanation, though, is the opposite of this — that an extra-long neck is considered a sign of great beauty and wealth and that it will attract a better husband.

Check out my gallery of “The Padaung black & white portraits” or the color version “The Padaung color portraits”