Tibetan Rugs

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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One group of classic Oriental rugs includes the Tibetan rugs. The most important distinction of quality is still between the authentic hand knotted rug and all other production methods. Tibetan rugs are for the most part smaller, area rugs, though carpets as large as nine by 12 and 10 by 14 can occasionally be found.

Rug making among Tibetans goes back to traffic along the old Silk Road from Beijing to Central Asia and the west. The best Tibetan rugs use totally handspun yarn and natural dyes. Their dense thick pile and rich dark colors are characterized by a unique weave among Oriental rugs.

Rather than a series of individual knots tied one by one across the warp (width) of the loom, the Tibetan process entails a continuous strand of yard wrapped back and forth between the warp threads and across a metal rod laid across the full width of the loom. The wraps of yarn are then cut, forming two rows of tufts.

Common Designs of Tibetan Rugs

A somewhat geometric flower design is traditional in Tibetan rug making. One such rug--about three by five feet--features its corners blocked off in orange red triangles, and a central motif of three large angular flowers on a dark blue ground. Each flower is a different rich color, and the leaves patterned across the blue ground a muted tone of the same hue. Another typical Tibetan design is called the flayed tiger--usually a rich orange red on a beige ground.

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