Saturday, August 22, 2009

Akha Ornamentation

Jewellery: Most Akha ornamentation is attached to their clothing. In addition women wear broad flat silver neck rings and wide, plain or engraved silver bracelets. Men wear smooth, round neck rings and bracelets, and sometimes crown-shaped silver rings in their turbans or on their fingers. These days aluminum is often substituted for silver, which has been sold to but food or opium. In some cases, fear of robbery has caused them to bury their silver, and use aluminum for everyday wear.
Akha elders highly value items of silver which are prestige symbols, such as large hollow silver bracelets, tobacco and betel-nut boxes, and long silver pipes. Many Akha women wear antique glass beads of Chinese origin, which have been handed down from mother to daughter for many generations. Most of the smaller beads are of Wuropean origin, the oldest probably having been traded in China by European traders over several centuries. Some Akha women are selling off their valuable antique beads and replacing them with cheap plastic ones.
The coins used on headdresses and other garments are of several types. Those who can afford them use silver coins, such as silver Indian rupees. Burmese, Indochinese, and Thai coins of small value are also used.

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