Tibetan Rugs: While the rugs come in a variety of lush designs and color combinations, they are very practical and will last many a lifetime.
General Origin: Rugs have long been used throughout Asia for a very long time. Experts have different opinion on the origin of Tibetan rugs. But one thing that expersts do agree about is the unique Tibetan knot that distinguishes such rugs as art indigenous to tibet.The Tibetan knot and knotting techniques are quite unlike the Turkish, Persianknot or the Chinese knot. The tibetan techniques were developed over the centuries radically different from any used for hand-weaving rugs. Not only do they use labor intensive knotting but have ticks to smoothen out and round off designs even to inserting Turkish knots in a given row of tibetan knots.Suffice it to say that anyne knowledgeable about Asian and central Asian rugs and carpets can spot a tibetan rug from any other. The Tradition of "knot and cut" weaving made the humble bed size rugs to spread on floors, and for sitting and sleeping on. From these sources unique Tibetan rugs, runners, wall hanging, saddle, blankets, and ceremonial carpets with the traditional techniques grew into a national occupation.
The Wool: The wool used by Tibetans make the carpets unique in wools used elsewhere in the world. There are two types of sheep wool found in Tibet: the aboriginal, pure breed sheep in the highlands above 14,000 feet and the mixed breed sheep from the valleys in lower elevations. The Tibetans make the distinction of the two as "highland wool" with its high lanolin content ("Changhel"-more abundant with long, coarse, and thick in diameter) and the "valley wool ("Yangphel"with sheep and fine textured for garment weaving".)
Designs: There is a multiplicity of designs incorporated into Tibetan carpets.They are from a number of cultures and influences. The idea of listing and explaining all the various designs used in these rugs is daunting. Only a few of the most often spotted on Tibetan rugs, the religious, symbolic, geometrical, symbols will be mentioned. Also most carpets include border designs of intricate drawings.Other widely used designs include the Eight Auspicious Emblems: the lotus (purity and perfection); spoke wheel (the prayer wheel is turned by Buddha's teaching'; conch shell (call to prayer); victory banner (Buddha’s victory in reaching enlightenment); parasol (protection from evil); endless knot (love and devotion); gold fish (freedom from restraint to enlightenment); the vase (contains spiritual gems).Others seen are the snow lion, crane, phoenix, frog foot, the bat, lions, skeletons, fruits such as peace and pomegranate, clouds, the sea, dragons, mountains, leaves and peonies, flaming jewels, and a multitude of other interesting and colorful symbols. They are made by hand with the devotion to the art by weavers of varying talents using different dye colors, spun wool, the loom and the imagination of the designer.
Tibetan Rugs in the World Market: The quality and time in hand weaving of these carpets now command a growing market in the world because of their high workmanship, attention to detail, religious significance and even the remarkably durable wool from sheep from the "Top of the World".There are hindrances to the continued influence of these carpets. Tibet has begun to revitalize the production of carpets as it tries to recover from the devastation created by the Chinese occupation.Tibetan rugs and carpets have become a major export to the world since the arrival of Tibetan refugees in Nepal, India, Bhutan and other parts of the world.