Tibet is a country of a great natural beauty and rich cultural traditions, with weaving being one of the most important ones. Handmade Tibetan carpets and other woven goods have a long history. What first started off as a practical craft, became an art few could match.
Comparing to other Oriental and Asian carpets, Tibetan ones are made using local techniques, passed on from generation to generation.
Vertical looms are essential in order to make a rug of Tibetan design, unlike in Chinese or Indian. Known also as a warp-weighted loom, they are said to have originated in Neolithic period, as the earliest evidence of such looms comes from sites where Starčevo, an ancient tribe, lived. It is characterized by warp threads being kept tense by weights hanged at their ends. In Tibetan weaving the base of a carpet is made of double layer of cross patterned threads that ensures its durability. Weavers use large needles, guiding rows of threads thought looms. Normal pieces usually have up to 10 knots per square centimeter, which paired with an unusual weaving technique results in a pile with a very unique texture. Modern weaving differs from traditional because many craftsmen resigned from cutting individual nooses created after the threads are pulled through or started adding double knots making their carpets more elastic and thick.
The area of a Tibetan rugs is divided into separate parts: borders, corners, central area and medallions. Most popular motifs used by weavers are usually religious Buddhist scenes, but also stylized animals and flowers, which have their own meaning in Tibetan culture. For example, floral designs usually consist of eight elements, a number symbolizing longevity in Buddhist countries. Of course many traditional Tibetan patterns were profoundly influenced by Chinese culture and are shared by two of those countries.