History of Tibetan Weaving

Possibly as long ago as 1700 B.C., Tibetans have woven carpets.

In Tibetan society furniture was scarce even for the wealthy, hence, carpets were used for sitting, sleeping, door and window coverings and saddle blankets. In temples and monasteries, carpets served as pillar hangings, aisle runners and prayer rugs. Tibetans prized rugs for everyday uses as well as spectacular artistry.

Expert weavers, keeping with centuries of tradition and well-wrought skills, utilize a simple vertical loom. While weaving, a row of pile yarns are knotted to the wrap yarns firstly. Next two weft yarns are woven through the wrap. The knots and weft yarns are then packed down tightly on previously woven rows with a comb-like device. After knotting several rows, ends of pile yarns are cut to create an even rug surface. The knotting process is then repeated. The knot density of a Nepalese carpet ranges from 40 to 125 knots per square inch. However, the most common knot density of our carpets are 60, 80 and 100 knots per square inch.

The commercial production of Tibetan carpets began in the 60s, when political change drove thousands of Tibetan settlers through the Himalayan Mountains and into the Kathmandu Valley. These resourceful Tibetan refugees began a cottage industry of carpet weaving to produce rugs for the growing tourist trade in Nepal. Fueled by German interest, Tibetan rugs became in high demand throughout Europe within a decade. By the 1980's, Tibetan carpet production in Nepal became the nation's second leading industry. American importers began offering Tibetan rugs of color and design with the Western market in mind. Today, Tibetan rugs are a leading commodity in the hand made floor-covering market in both Europe and the United States.

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