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‘Giraffe Neck’ Padaung Women Tour London And New York Circuses: 1900-1957

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UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01:  Circus Woman The Giraffe With Her Baby Asking A Policeman The Way In England  (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

Circus Woman The Giraffe With Her Baby Asking A Policeman The Way In England

 

The Padaung, a group native to Burma and Thailand, focus on their necks, covered as they are in rings of brass coils. In the early 20th Century, Padaung women, also known as women of the Kayan Lahwi, toured the West as “giraffe women”.

 

UNITED KINGDOM - CIRCA 1925:  Giraffe women of Burma. London, about 1930.  (Photo by Harlingue/Roger Viollet/Getty Images)

UNITED KINGDOM – CIRCA 1925: Giraffe women of Burma. London, about 1930. (Photo by Harlingue/Roger Viollet/Getty Images)

UNITED STATES - APRIL 22:  Young Girls Of The Bermuda Islands Learning To Put Make Upwhen They Arrived In New York Where They Will Be Exhibited In Circuses, April 22, 1933.  (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

UNITED STATES – APRIL 22: Young Girls Of The Bermuda Islands Learning To Put Make Upwhen They Arrived In New York Where They Will Be Exhibited In Circuses, April 22, 1933. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

 

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Sideshow World:

Below image is the cover of the booklet by Howard Y Bary the Ringling – Barnum organization gave him the responsibility to bring and manage the group while in the United Stated.

 

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Lisa Wade notes:

This political cartoon reveals the degree to which the “giraffe-necked woman” had become a well-known icon in the U.S.

 

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Three Burmese women members of a circus play cards as they wear the brass neck and leg rings traditionally worn by Padaung women since childhood and which cannot be removed, London, January 4, 1935. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Three Burmese women members of a circus play cards as they wear the brass neck and leg rings traditionally worn by Padaung women since childhood and which cannot be removed, London, January 4, 1935. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

25th August 1936:  A Burmese woman, with traditional neck-extending rings, celebrates her twenty-first birthday with a cake in Folkestone with her friend. They are both part of Bertram Mills Circus, where they are billed as the 'giraffe-necked Burmese ladies'.  (Photo by A. J. O'Brien/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

25th August 1936: A Burmese woman, with traditional neck-extending rings, celebrates her twenty-first birthday with a cake in Folkestone with her friend. They are both part of Bertram Mills Circus, where they are billed as the ‘giraffe-necked Burmese ladies’. (Photo by A. J. O’Brien/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

4th November 1937:  Three women from the Shan States between Tibet and Upper Burma who elongate their necks with metal bands are being made up in for a film test. They came to England to work with Bertram Mills circus.  (Photo by Harry Todd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

4th November 1937: Three women from the Shan States between Tibet and Upper Burma who elongate their necks with metal bands are being made up in for a film test. They came to England to work with Bertram Mills circus. (Photo by Harry Todd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

circa 1950:  A Padaung, or Kayan woman. Originally a Mongolian tribe, the Padaung have been assimilated into the Karen group native to Mayanmar (Burma). The most stiking feature of these people are the brass rings fitted to the necks and limbs of women born on Wednesdays. The first neck ring is fitted when they are five or six, with successive rings fitted every two years, denoting the status of their family.  (Photo by Vitold de Golish/Three Lions/Getty Images)

circa 1950: A Padaung, or Kayan woman. Originally a Mongolian tribe, the Padaung have been assimilated into the Karen group native to Mayanmar (Burma). The most stiking feature of these people are the brass rings fitted to the necks and limbs of women born on Wednesdays. The first neck ring is fitted when they are five or six, with successive rings fitted every two years, denoting the status of their family. (Photo by Vitold de Golish/Three Lions/Getty Images)

circa 1950:  A Padaung, or Kayan woman. Originally a Mongolian tribe, the Padaung have been assimilated into the Karen group native to Mayanmar (Burma). The most stiking feature of these people are the brass rings fitted to the necks and limbs of women born on Wednesdays. The first neck ring is fitted when they are five or six, with successive rings fitted every two years, denoting the status of their family.  (Photo by Vitold de Golish/Three Lions/Getty Images)

circa 1950: A Padaung, or Kayan woman. Originally a Mongolian tribe, the Padaung have been assimilated into the Karen group native to Mayanmar (Burma). The most stiking feature of these people are the brass rings fitted to the necks and limbs of women born on Wednesdays. The first neck ring is fitted when they are five or six, with successive rings fitted every two years, denoting the status of their family. (Photo by Vitold de Golish/Three Lions/Getty Images)

circa 1950:  A Padaung, or Kayan woman has a new brass ring fitted round her neck. The first ring is fitted when they are five or six by a shaman, on a day of horoscopic significance, with successive rings fitted every two years, denoting the status of their family. Originally a Mongolian tribe, the Padaung have been assimilated into the Karen group native to Mayanmar (Burma).  (Photo by Vitold de Golish/Three Lions/Getty Images)

circa 1950: A Padaung, or Kayan woman has a new brass ring fitted round her neck. The first ring is fitted when they are five or six by a shaman, on a day of horoscopic significance, with successive rings fitted every two years, denoting the status of their family. Originally a Mongolian tribe, the Padaung have been assimilated into the Karen group native to Mayanmar (Burma). (Photo by Vitold de Golish/Three Lions/Getty Images)

circa 1955:  A Burmese woman wearing thick brass coils to lengthen her neck.  (Photo by Richard Harrington/Three Lions/Getty Images)

circa 1955: A Burmese woman wearing thick brass coils to lengthen her neck. (Photo by Richard Harrington/Three Lions/Getty Images)

circa 1955:  A Padaung, or Kayan, woman exhales smoke. Originally a Mongolian tribe, the Padaung have been assimilated into the Karen group native to Mayanmar (Burma). A stiking feature of Padaung culture is the fitting of brass rings to the necks and limbs of women born on Wednesdays. From the age of five or six, successive rings are fitted every two years, denoting the status of their family.  (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

circa 1955: A Padaung, or Kayan, woman exhales smoke. Originally a Mongolian tribe, the Padaung have been assimilated into the Karen group native to Mayanmar (Burma). A stiking feature of Padaung culture is the fitting of brass rings to the necks and limbs of women born on Wednesdays. From the age of five or six, successive rings are fitted every two years, denoting the status of their family. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

November 1964:  A female member of the Padaung tribe in Myanmar, (formerly Burma), wearing brass rings in order to lengthen her neck.  (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)

November 1964: A female member of the Padaung tribe in Myanmar, (formerly Burma), wearing brass rings in order to lengthen her neck. (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)

 

Today tourists still pay to stare at the ‘giraffe necked’ women.

 

CHIANG DAO, THAILAND - JULY 13:  Paeng , 5, who is a Long Neck  Padaung hill tribe girl,  blows bubbles in a small village where 30 familes live July 13, 2006 in Chiang Dao, Thailand. All the Long Neck villages are set up for tourists and just over a year ago the hill tribe members were hand picked to move closer to Chiang Mai from more remote communities so that they could be more accessible. The Padaung women famously wear brass rings around their necks, beginning at five-years-old, to distort the growth of their collarbones and making them look like they have long necks. They are originally from eastern Burma near the Thailand border.  (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

CHIANG DAO, THAILAND – JULY 13: Paeng , 5, who is a Long Neck Padaung hill tribe girl, blows bubbles in a small village where 30 familes live July 13, 2006 in Chiang Dao, Thailand. All the Long Neck villages are set up for tourists and just over a year ago the hill tribe members were hand picked to move closer to Chiang Mai from more remote communities so that they could be more accessible. The Padaung women famously wear brass rings around their necks, beginning at five-years-old, to distort the growth of their collarbones and making them look like they have long necks. They are originally from eastern Burma near the Thailand border. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

 

Spotter: Tara McGinley