Tibetan Rugs

What are the Origins of Tibetan Rugs?

Looking at the dramatic, mountainous and awe-inspiring landscape of Tibet one may easily forget its painful past and the toll it took upon its people. Nevertheless, this deeply spiritual region is the place where the craft of weaving Tibetan rugs has flourished for centuries, bringing to the world stunning art pieces desired by travellers and collectors alike. Oriental Tibetan carpets have a long an profound history which stretches back hundreds if not thousands of years. Truth be told, Tibetan rug weaving started off as a lowly craft which was not mentioned in early writings, aside from occasional references to the rugs owned by prominent religious figures. Some notions of original Tibetan rugs sold to the western countries began appearing in the 1880’s. However, it wasn’t until the beginning of the 20th century that the first detailed accounts of Tibetan rug weaving came from foreigners who entered Tibet with the British Invasion and described a workshop they encountered near Gyantse, en route to Lhasa.

In 923 AD, the people of Tingri and Saga popularized the “Lhaewu” or "Glide" – a craft which was the base for the later creation of the authentic Tibetan technique. In the early 11th century, Nyachi in Shigatse, a region located in western Tibet, was the main center of rug production in the country. It is there, the development of the craft was initiated to reached its final stage in the 17th century. The majority of rug-making workshops used to be owned by aristocratic families and supplied monasteries with expertly woven goods. Much simpler Tibetan rugs for domestic use were usually made at home with cheaper materials than those meant for religious usage.

What are Tibetan rugs from Nepal?

The Tibetan carpet industry experienced it heyday between the 19th and 20th century, only to fall into serious decline in the second half of the 20th due to the political unrest and torment. Many of the aristocratic families who formerly managed the workshops fled to India and Nepal during this period, along with their money, techniques and expertise. The revival of Tibetan rug weaving began in the 1970’s but rather in Nepal and India, hence the category of Nepalese Tibetan rugs also known as Nepal rugs.

What are Characteristic features of Tibetan Rugs?

Green Colordrop Tibetan Rug

Traditional Tibetan rugs, unlike Chinese or Indian carpets, are made on vertical looms. They are famed for the Tibetan knot, which is formed by looping the yarn around two warps and then further around a rod. Used in many rug weaving communities, this knot brings a uniqueness to handmade Tibetan carpets. Tibetan and Nepalese rug making is an ancient, culturally specific craft. Typically made from Tibetan highland sheep wool called “changpel”, Tibetan rugs are used for a variety of purposes, including flooring, wall-hangings, and horse saddles. While the introduction of modern technology has relegated some aspects of rug making to machines in workshops, the finest Tibetan carpets and rugs are still created the old-fashioned way – by hand on the loom.

Tibetan rugs made in the 19th century are toned-down in terms coloration and the overall design. Back then, artisans were restricted to a few natural dyes including red (obtained from madder), blue (from indigo), yellow (made of Tibetan rhubarb), as well as brown and gray (from walnut shells). However, the 1900s brought synthetic dyes to Tibetan weavers , stimulating the production of more complex designs. Since the 1900 onwards, weavers have started to make Tibetan rugs loosely based on the Chinese designs, with patterns including such characteristic motifs as dragons, phoenixes, clouds or cranes. Among the most popular contemporary Tibetan designs there are so-called "Tiger rugs", associated with Tantric meditation - tiger skin is believed to provide protection to a person who meditates. Some of Tibetan Tiger rugs consist of semi-realistic or entirely abstract depictions of tiger pelts, while others constitute a "whole pelt" composition, complete with legs and a grinning face. Another very popular design is "Potala", depicting the Potala Palace, meant as a souvenir for the tourists. Today, many modern Tibetan rugs are made in a more contemporary manner, applying western designs such as Art Deco or minimalism.

What is the Quality of New Tibetan Rugs?

New Tibetan rugs and Nepalese carpets provided by Doris Leslie Blau are made of the finest materials, dyed in natural dyes, in accordance with old and refined weaving techniques by skilled artisans. They are traditionally crafted of wool and/or natural silk but nowadays some of them may be created from vegetal fibers such as hemp, nettle, aloe, Sunpat, bamboo silk and banana silk. Culled from cactus plants, Sunpat is an eco-friendly natural fiber noted for its extreme durability and natural sheen. Art Deco Tibetan rugs are one of the most popular nowadays as they cater for the tastes of the western market. Nonetheless, the variety of modern Tibetan rugs is huge and absolutely anyone will be able to find his or her perfect carpet.

Are Tibetan Rugs Eco-friendly?

The modern Tibetan rugs and Nepalese rugs are created in an eco-friendly and socially responsible manner. The completed rugs are gently hand-washed in cleaned and softened groundwater which ensures that the natural resilience of the wool yarn is preserved. Following this process, the waste water is carefully treated to be rendered non-toxic and is then returned to the ground system. All of the rugs provided by Doris Leslie Blau are made in compliance with the conditions for fair labor practices as outlined by the international non-profit supervisory enterprise, Care & Fair, which promotes education, benevolent working conditions, medical care, and prohibits child labor.

Ivan Da Silva-Bruhns Inspired Tibetan Rug Tibetan carpets at Doris Leslie Blau can be ordered in an array of exclusive yarns, colors and weave techniques. Our Tibetan rugs are all created in an eco-friendly and socially responsible manner. The completed rugs are gently hand washed in cleaned and softened groundwater, which ensures that the natural resilience of the Tibetan wool yarn is preserved. Following this process, the waste water is carefully treated to be rendered non-toxic and is then returned to the ground system. All of our rugs are made in compliance with the conditions for fair labor practices as outlined by the international non-profit supervisory enterprise, Care & Fair, which promotes education, benevolent working conditions, medical care, and prohibits child labor.

Tibetan and Nepalese Rugs

Green Colordrop Tibetan Rug Combining the rich history of Tibetan rug-weaving with the modernity and abstraction of the Art Deco style, the modern Tibetan and Nepalese rugs in the Doris Leslie Blau collection are a stunning collectors’ find. They are hand-woven in the Himalayas in Nepal, Tibet or India and take inspiration from the Deco-inspired modernism, incorporating the streamlined aesthetic and minimalism that is characteristic of the European-born art movement. Making use of abstract geometrics and bold color choices, the modern Tibetan and Nepalese rugs are woven by traditional methods and tools while simultaneously making use of avant-garde designs appealing to a modern sensibility. Tibetan and Nepalese rugs online at Doris Leslie Blau can be ordered in a vast selection of colors, designs, fibers and weaving techniques.

Are Tibetan Rugs Eco-friendly?

Viennese Design Tibetan Rug The modern Tibetan and Nepalese rugs are all created in an eco-friendly and socially responsible manner. The completed rugs are gently hand-washed in cleaned and softened groundwater, which ensures that the natural resilience of the wool yarn is preserved. Following this process, the waste water is carefully treated to be rendered non-toxic and is then returned to the ground system. All of our rugs are made in compliance with the conditions for fair labor practices as outlined by the international non-profit supervisory enterprise, Care & Fair, which promotes education, benevolent working conditions, medical care, and prohibits child labor.

History of Tibetan Rugs

The Doris Leslie Blau collection of Deco Tibetan and Nepalese rugs is unique due the subversion of tradition to appeal to modernist collectors. The carpet-making industry in Tibet and Nepal dates back thousands of years, and is first detailed in the writings of foreigners at the turn of the 20th century, with the British invasion of that part of the world. The unique carpets mentioned were noted as “beautiful,” with dedicated workshops producing the decorated pile rugs that were sold to wealthy families in Lhasa and Shigatse, as well as to monasteries.

Tibetan Rug by Sheila Bridges Historically, Tibetan rugs are famed for the Tibetan knot, which is formed by looping the yarn around two warps and then further around a rod. Used in many rug weaving communities, this knot brings a uniqueness to handmade Tibetan carpets.

These rugs are traditionally created with tibetan wool and/or natural silk. They are dyed and combined length-wise with either loop and cut pile weaves, or both. Tibetan and Nepalese carpets can also be woven from vegetal fibers such as hemp, nettle, aloe, Sunpat, bamboo silk and banana silk. Culled from cactus plants, Sunpat is an eco-friendly natural fiber noted for its extreme durability and natural sheen.

An Exceptional Collection of Deco & Tibetan Carpets for Sale

Modernist Jean Cocteau Style Rug Tibetan Contemporary Silk Rug Ivan Da Silva-Bruhns Inspired Large Deco Rug