22.11.12

Stretched ears, a symbol of beauty and high status

photo credit Eko Prianto/CIFOR

The Dayak of Borneo used to be easily recognized by their very much stretched earlobes. In the baby age their ears were pierced and small brass rings were placed in the holes. Then very gradually more and more rings were added with time which caused the earlobes to stretch more and more and the holes bigger and bigger. The more stretched earlobes a woman had the higher status she had in Dayak society (because usually the most stretched ears would have the oldest women). Besides the status thing the stretched ears were considered beautiful. But it is a dying practice now, younger women don't want to do this anymore.

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