Friday, September 30, 2011

Neck rings for the western woman

Flicking through a fashion magazine recently, I came upon this add for Dior's J'adore perfume with Charlize Theron:

Charlize Theron for Dior's J'adore perfume

I was instantaniously reminded of those so called "Giraffe women" in South Africa.

Ndebele Woman in Traditional Dress

Women of Ndebele people wear brass rings called idzila around their neck, legs, and arms. These rings do not put pressure on the collar bone and create an elongated neck look, contrary to popular belief and other Asian cultures. They begin wearing these when they get married, around age 12, and the rings are added on as they are given to them by their husband. The richer the husband, the more rings his wife has. The Ndebele widow will take all her rings off upon her husband's death to show her new state.

(more information here:

Kayan or Padaung lady and girl Myanmar Kayah state

Upon reseaching for this post, I discovered that other cultures used neck rings, namely the Kayan or Padaung Women of Myanmar. (If I understand correctly, "Padaung" means long neck woman). In fact, they wear coiled metal rings around their wrists, knees and ankles as well. Girls begin wearing the rings as young as age 2. In the case of the Padaung, the weight of the neck rings does infact deform the collar bone, pushing it to a 45 degree angle and making the neck appear longer, but the idea that an unfaithful woman will see her rings removed as punishment so she suffocates to death is completly false; in fact, the rings can be taken off and put back on if need be, say to be examined by a doctor. In the Kayan culture, this drastic body modification through adornment is done so everyone is reminded of their ancestry to the Nagas, a mythical dragon or snake.

The Republic of the Union of Myanmar borders Thailand, and there is apparently a group of Kayan living in a border town on the Thai side of the fence (though according to one source I found, they generate most of the economic wealth of the town they are in so that now that they want to relocate, things are being made as hard as possible for them to do so). Perhaps that is why Miss Thailand Chutima Durongdej wore a neck ring inspired piece as her National Costume to the 2009 Miss Universe contest.

Miss Thailand 2009 - Chutima Durongdej

Yep! I definitly see the resemblance with Charlize's neck piece. Now being on a craft craze, how would I go about making something like that?(I mean the Dior add neck piece of course.)