The History of Karnorr Carpets

For many centuries, Tibetans have been weaving carpets for the use in their house as bed set, saddle blankets for horses and carpets for prayer halls, huge pillar covers and wall hangings in the monasteries etc. Thus, carpets formed an integral part in the lives of Tibetans who had to endure pretty harsh weather conditions in the vast and high plateau of Tibet. After the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959, hundreds of thousands of Tibetans escaped and took refuge in parts of India and Nepal.

Gradually, they settled and formed communities all across the region; with their propensity for trade and t heir general amiable nature, they blended in cordially with all the native inhabitants of Nepal and India. Pretty soon, bustling bazaars and lively neighbourhoods began springing up with a distinct flair of Tibetan hospitality and cultural identity. Under the leadership of their charismatic and revered leader the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan refugees extended their culture and tradition into means of livelihood and profession: sculpturing, architecture, painting etc. Among these, the art of carpet weaving proved very beneficial for many Tibetans who were skilled and well-versed in that area of trade.

The history of carpet industry in Nepal began when the first Tibetan settlers started to sell their rugs, either antique or otherwise, to curious tourists. While earning their livelihood with different skills of arts in a new land, these hard working Tibetan refugees received the support of the Swiss government and began a cottage industry of carpet weaving in early 1960s. This industry was intended to sell carpets to the growing tourist trade in Nepal. During this period, most of the carpets produced were hand carded, handspun, and hand trimmed using only traditional designs in small sizes.

In the late 70's, German carpet dealers came to Nepal and began purchasing carpets in larger sizes and in volume. Subsequently, the German market became the hub of distribution for unique Tibetan carpets throughout Europe. Due to the high demand of European buyers in mid 80's, Tibetan carpet production in Nepal became the nation's second leading industry. Later on, a few leading American importers began to buy Tibetan rugs made in Nepal, with specific design and coloration for the American market.

The carpet industry has come quite a long way from its early times of small bazaar sales to now large, industrial productions.To this day, Tibetan rugs have become a leading commodity within the hand made floor-covering market in both Europe and in the United States, and still continues to grow with fame and popularity to other parts of the world.Our intentions are to produce the leading standards – in terms of design and productions – in carpets while maintaining the same genuine feel of hospitality and uniqueness that only the original carpets provide.