CENTURY IMPRESSIONS OF BURMA. 75
unmarried youths in a building set apart, as a sort of bachelor's hall, outside the village, and he is not supposed to talk to any girl until he is married. The Banyang clan is said to be so strict in these matters that an official of the State has to go to the Banyang once a year to arrange a marriage, otherwise there might be no marriages at all. He orders any couple he may fix upon to be married, and the order is carried out, without the wishes of either party being consulted, so that occasionally a bridegroom has to be carried nolens volens into the bridal chamber, the police being at hand to see that he remains there for three days and nights.
The Padaungs.aIn the area supervised by the political officer who has control over Karens, are certain tracts inhabited by the Padaungs, who, if not of Karen origin, have a language bearing a strong resemblance to Taungthu or Pao, which again is largely of Pwo (Karen) derivation. A most notable peculiarity of the members of this tribe, who call themselves the Kekawngdhu, is the number of brass rod rings, each thick as the little finger, worn round the neck. The rings are put on a girl as early as possible, when perhaps she is no more than five years old, and as she grows fresh coils are added, until some of the Padaung belles have as many as twenty-one such rings, keeping the neck stretched at full tension. As similar coils are worn on leg and arm, the weight of metal carried by an average woman comes to fifty or sixty pounds, while some manage as much as eighty pounds, with which they move about in performing their household duties, carrying water, doing field work, and going long distances to market with produce or liquor for sale. The appearance of the women is suggestive of a hock or champagne bottle. The fashion, we are assured, does not affect the health injuriously, or serve to
shorten life. The women wear a coloured scarf twisted into the hair in a way that is very attractive to the Padaung beau ; a skirt striped red and blue reaching just above the knee and a coat with short arms, necklaces of seeds, coins, and coloured stones complete the dress. There are no restrictions regarding marriage to members of other tribes.
Palaungs.aThe Palaungs, or Rumai, have their headquarters in the Northern Shan
States of Loilong or Tawn-peng, and there are many also in the Kodaung tract of the ruby mines district. Their language is thought to resemble closely that of the Wa ; but in character the Palaung is the antithesis of his head-hunting truculent cousin, who does not care for money and is a spirit-worshipper, when it is convenient to be so, whereas the Palaung is reputed a very Shylock
in money matters and a Buddhist, but makes offerings to spirits also. This race numbers some 68,000.
The Wa.aThe Wa who dwell to the north of Kengtung are divided practically into the Wild or Head-hunting Wa and the Tame Wa. The former have avenues of skulls, which have been acquired in headhunting expeditions, or are the skulls of criminals. The Tame Wa have no such
collection of relics. The head-hunting Wa indulge in human sacrifices on religious grounds, for the spirits of the beheaded men are regarded as a defence for the village against wandering spirits and as protectors of the crops. The people, however, are now beginning to recognise that under British rule life may not be taken even for religious purposes.collection of relics. The head-hunting Wa indulge in human sacrifices on religious grounds, for the spirits of the beheaded men are regarded as a defence for the village against wandering spirits and as protectors of the crops. The people, however, are now beginning to recognise that under British rule life may not be taken even for religious purposes.