Padaung? Names given to the Kayan

There are four Kayan sub-groups distinguished by different traditions. They all refer to themselves as Kayan but the Kayan Lahwi, with their tradition of women wearing a metal coil around their neck, has been given many other names. The most prevalent of these names is Padaung.

This term originates with the Shan people who called this long-neck tribe ‘Yan Pa Doung’ meaning ‘brass wound people’, this name was adopted by the Burmans and Thais who refer to the people as Padaung.

Long Neck Karen

Another term often used in Thailand is 'Long Neck Karen'. Although there is thought to be some link between the Karen people and the Karenni (which the Kayan are part of) there is no consensus on what that link is or how close it is. The Karen people mainly occupy Karen State in Burma. There are also a large number of Karen who have lived in Thailand for a long period of time, they are often referred to as Karen Hill Tribe. The Kayan are NOT a part of this hill tribe and the term Long Neck Karen is misleading.

Giraffe People

'Giraffe Women' is a rather outdated term now considered to be derogatory. This term was used by French comic creator Marc Wasterlain in his comic 'Jeannette Pointu: Les Femme Giraffes' which features gun toting Kayan.



Comic 'Les Femmes Giraffes'




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