A traditional Tibetan carpet

Tibetan Carpets

A traditional Tibetan bed rug made by hand, used mainly by Tibetans for their home furniture and floors

Tibetan rug making is an ancient, traditional craft. Tibetan rugs are traditionally made
from Tibetan highland sheep's wool, called changpel. Tibetans use rugs for many
purposes ranging from flooring to wall hanging to horse saddles, though the most
common use is as a seating carpet. A typical sleeping carpet measuring around 3ft
x 5ft (0.9m x 1.6m) is called a khaden.

The process of making Tibetan rugs is unique in the sense that the knotting method
is different from that used in other rug-making traditions worldwide. With the intro-
duction of modern technology some aspects of the rug-making processes have been
taken over by machine in many workshops, in particular yarn spinning and trimming
of the pile after weaving. This is primarily because of cost, disappearance of know-
ledge etc. Nevertheless, the finest carpets are those still made in the traditional
way, by hand.

With Tibet's occupation by Chinese communists during the 1950s, Tibetan refugees
started migrating to India and Nepal. With them they also brought their knowledge
of rug making. Currently rug business is one of the largest industries in Nepal and
there are many rug exporters. Tibet also has weaving workshops, but the export
side of the industry is relatively undeveloped compared with Nepal and India.