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Mu Parn - Huay Pu Keng - Kayan Longneck Village - Mae Hong Son, Thailand - 2013-11-09 16-22-34.jpg
Huay Pu Keng - Kayan Longneck Village - Mae Hong Son, Thailand - 2013-11-09 14-57-49.jpg
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The Longneck Project


A journey into the lives of the native Kayan Longneck Tribe in Northern Thailand

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The Longneck Project


A journey into the lives of the native Kayan Longneck Tribe in Northern Thailand

WELCOME TO HUAY PU KENG

For members of the Kayan tribe, mornings haven't changed much in the past hundred years.  As the sky begins its transition from dark to light, a symphony of roosters doubles as an alarm clock for the sleepy village. Soon after, scores of heavy eyelids and dragging feet emerge from handmade wooden houses to greet the day. Breakfast is cooked, showers are taken, children prepare for school, shops are opened and a group of tribe members embark on a river journey to a nearby town.

Meanwhile, in hotels and guesthouses across Northern Thailand, tourists charge their camera batteries, enjoy a buffet breakfast, apply sunscreen, board wooden boats and prepare to experience a "traditional longneck village." In a few short hours, these two worlds will collide.

 

Mu Parn - Huay Pu Keng - Kayan Longneck Village - Mae Hong Son, Thailand - 2013-11-09 16-22-34.jpg

What is a Longneck


What is a Longneck


WHAT IS A "LONGNECK"

[COPIED FROM WIKIPEDIA FOR NOW] Women of the Kayan tribes identify themselves by their forms of dress. Women of the Kayan Lahwi tribe are well known for wearing neck rings, brass coils that are placed around the neck, appearing to lengthen it. The women wearing these coils are known as "giraffe women" to tourists.

Girls first start to wear rings when they are around 5 years old.[7] Over the years the coil is replaced by a longer one and more turns are added. The weight of the brass pushes the collar bonedown and compresses the rib cage. The neck itself is not lengthened; the appearance of a stretched neck is created by the deformation of the clavicle.[8] Many ideas regarding why the coils are worn have been suggested, often formed by visiting anthropologists, who have hypothesized that the rings protected women from becoming slaves by making them less attractive to other tribes. It has also been theorised that the coils originate from the desire to look more attractive by exaggerating sexual dimorphism, as women have more slender necks than men. It has also been suggested that the coils give the women resemblance to a dragon, an important figure in Kayan folklore.[9] The coils might be meant to protect from tiger bites, perhaps literally, but probably symbolically.[10]

Kayan women, when asked, acknowledge these ideas, and often say that their purpose for wearing the rings is cultural identity (one associated with beauty).

 

Huay Pu Keng - Kayan Longneck Village - Mae Hong Son, Thailand - 2013-11-09 14-57-49.jpg

Traditional Life + Modern Zoo


Traditional Life + Modern Zoo


TWO WORLDS COME TOGETHER

Some time after sunrise, "tradition" gives way to tourism, As an armada of touristic boats make their way downriver, Huay Pu Keng is transformed from a quiet village into a bustling tourist attraction. For Kayan women who choose to wear the metal coils, their day is spent sitting in front of a table of souvineers, posing for photos, weaving and more. Up and down the main dirt street, local women sit

Longneck women begins to seep out of this traditional village comes to an end. As an armada of touristic boats make their way downriver, the longneck women female members of the Huay Pu Keng village 

Leading into Day Day taking off the rings.