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Ear stretching is not a fad. Throughout history, many cultures have practiced earlobe stretching as a sign of beauty and status. King Tut himself had stretched ear lobes as visualized in his burial mask.
Ear weights are associated with many African and Asian Tribal cultures. Borneo tribes, including the Dayak and Iban, adorned their ears with brass and metal weights.
The woman in the photograph below is a Native Iban woman showing the tribal tattooing and ear lobe stretching that is becoming less common today among the native tribes, but has exploded as a trend (to a lesser extreme) among the Western world..
Many ear weights were artistic and beautiful, often representing creatures of their spiritual beliefs.