Tibetan Carpets & Rugs

“Tibetan rugs, once cherished possessions of the rich and famous, are nowthe most sought after home furnishings in the world.”


Tibetan carpets are carpets, as the name suggests, art those carpets which are  manufactured in Tibet, depicting the styles prevalent among Tibetan people and culture  . Nowdays, in other parts of the world as well, Tibetan carpets and rugs are manufactured. The Tibetan refugees living in Nepal also make a good earning by designing and selling these carpets in Nepal. Tibetan carpets manufactured in Nepal mainly consist of modern and western patterns in pastel colors. These carpets are labelled “Tibetan” to distinguish them from other carpets. The carpets are also manufactured in the manufacturing units owned by the government in Lhasa. These carpets are exported through Beijing and these carpets are labelled as “Lhasas”.

Tibetan Carpet

Tibetan Carpet

Tibetan carpets have existed for hundreds  of years but have got an international recognition only now.  The patterns and sizes of Tibetan rugs are so versatile that they are as suitable for floor covering as for wall hangings or accent rugs, or for runners and throws.  Every carpet has a story to tell  that starts from gathering wool from sheep roaming high on the Himalayan plateau. This wool is thick, long, and lustrous – and rich with lanolin.

Tibetan Rug

Tibetan Rug

Designs of Tibetan Carpets
The carpets are unique in their structure and design. Influenced by the Tibetan tribal culture, Buddhism and Chinese culture, these carpets are very beautiful. The designs are simple yet beautiful, complementing the contemporary scenario. Tibetan carpets also have lots of similarities with the Chinese patterns. Tibetan carpets and rugs  are often small in size compared to other varieties of carpets they are mainly meant to be used in the homes and in the temples.

Types of Tibetan Carpets
On the basis of designs and patterns, Tibetan rugs and carpets can be categorized as follows:

  • Medallion carpet:  In the medallion carpets there are three centerpiece medallions in square shapes having multiple borders. They  are surrounded with leaves and flowers. The round medallions have flowers inside, which are usually lotus or peony, and the animals like the snow-lion, Manchurian crane, dragons etc.
  • Floral All-over Carpets: The floral all over Tibetan carpets consist of 2 or 3 or many large flowers in an all-over layout. Flowers mainly used are lotus, the peony, and the chrysanthemum. Floral all over patterns are usually without borders in an endless repeat.
  • Mythological Design Carpets : Mythological design carpets consist of mythological animal and bird like the dragon, the phoenix, the bat, the white Manchurian crane, and the bee. These mythological creatures are either represented in the medallion or in an all-over layout.
  • Geometric Panelled All-over Design : The geometric designs are less common and usually comes in a panelled all-over layout with flat-looking flowers inside either square or diamond cells.
  • Monastery Carpets: Monastery carpets or  rugs are usually small and are used for various ritual and  ceremonial purposes. The colors used on these types of carpets are red or orange. One typical example of Monastery rugs is the tiger rug which is used by high-ranking monks as a seat.

Colors of Tibetan Carpets
Tibetan carpets are available in vivid colors, and relatively plain and dominant backgrounds. The colors used in the background are usually red, orange, blue, black, yellow or ivory. The colors in which the motifs are colored are woven in red, yellow, beige, orange, pink, blue, green and white.

Popularity of Tibetan Carpets

The carpet industry continues to be an important source of income for Tibetans living in Tibet, Nepal, and India. The designs, shapes, colors of the carpets have changed with the demands of Western consumers. Floor carpets and rugs in many sizes, some with non-Tibetan motifs, are now produced in large factories and cottage industries of Tibet and Nepal and also India.  The high amounts of lanolin and long fibers create high quaity wool that is silky, soft, durable and stain resistant. The more these Tiben carpets are used the better they look over time.

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