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The stall-keepers are Shans. The ring at the back of the neck is more clearly seen on the woman sitting down (see text, page 315). The "well-dressed" Karen woman wears as much as 50 or 60 pounds of brass rings on neck, arms, and legs. THE AVERAGE WOMAN WEARS 50 OR 60 POUNDS OE BRASS RODS In the case of the women, a glance at the arm appears to imply that they have on both arms a weight of brass, which would give a clout that would defy coercion, for they have similar coils of brass rod on the legs and the arms, and the length of these seems only limited by the space available or the ability of the household to pay for the rod, for brass is very expensive (see illustration, p. 308). TWO KÈKAWNGDU WOMEN MAKING PURCHASES IN THE KAWNG-I BAZAAR: BURMA The total weight carried by the average woman is fifty or sixty pounds, and here and there some manage as much as seventy or even eighty.

Burdened with this weight, they hoe the fields, carry water for domestic use, and go long distances to village markets to sell liquor. They brew a great deal of very fiery stuff and sell it to most of their neighbors, carrying it in flagons made of woven strips of bamboo lacquered over with wood-oil, and dispensed in goblets of the same manufacture.

The cups are of most generous size. They hold about half a pint, and those not trained to it usually become noisy after one.

The brass-collar fashion does not seem to affect the women's health. There are plenty of active old crones among them and families of eight or ten are quite common. The only noticeable effect is that the women speak as if some one had them tight round the neck. They wear colored scarfs twisted into the hair, jumper coats which slip over the head, have a fashionable V-shaped front and back, and very short sleeves, with occasionally a little embroidery.

The skirts are really kilts, stopping above the knee and striped red and blue. The necklaces are of the usual kind, with cornelians and other stones, coins, and beads.

The men are not nearly so picturesque. Near main trade routes they wear the baggy trousers and short coats of the Shans. The remoter villagers wear shorts and cane leg-rings. An attempt at decoration is seen in the anklets made of shirt-buttons and kaleik seeds (the white seeds of a herbaceous plant), and every man carries a powder-and-shot case strapped to his belt. These are of wicker-work, neatly embroidered with brass bosses and raised scrollwork, and they glitter with wood-oil varnish.

GREAT SKILL SHOWN IN BUILDING IRRIGATED TERRACES The Kekawngdu occupy a tract covering, perhaps, 150 square miles. They are zealous agriculturists. Every available nook of the valleys is terraced for irrigation, which is carried out with great skill and eye for contour. They grow a good deal of cotton and make their clothes of it. The average height of their country is between three and four thousand feet, with peaks rising to five thousand. Their roads are well aligned, fairly broad, and much used, and are considered very good by those who have been traveling over other hill-roads, though a bicycle would have to be carried for three miles in every four.

Pack bullocks are kept and caravans go down to Toungoo on the railway. On the whole, they may be said to be the best of the hill races in this neighborhood, and they have great game drives with trained dogs (see pages 296, 298, 302, and 307-9).

Some authorities have doubts as to whether they are Karens and want to place them in the Mon-hkmer group. Their language, however, has many similarities with Taungthu.
Date 1922(1922)
Source National Geographic; march 1922.
Author Sir George Scott
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