Tibetan rug weavers often form an emotional, and even a spiritual connection with the rugs they make. Creating “one of a kind” rugs that are not just enhancing a home decor, but displaying someone’s story through an art piece.
Tibetan rugs can be single or double knotted, in 60, 80 or 100 knot per square inch and their simpler design make them different from typical oriental rugs. Some are inspired by stylized Persian, geometric shapes or traditional Tibetan designs, others very contemporary or undeniably plain with wonderful texture.
By early 20th Century, the availability of synthetic colors and influence of Chinese textile designs stimulated the production of Tibetan rugs.
Today, majority of Tibetan rugs are produced in Nepal, and India. The wool is mostly from New Zealand (excellent quality) and often blended with a little of Tibetan wool. Despite the tribal folklore claiming Tibetan refugees weave majority of these rugs; most are made in factories by Nepali workers.
Tibetan Tiger Rugs
One of the most popular styles of Tibetan rugs is the Tibetan tiger rug. These traditional rugs symbolize the fierceness of Buddhist gods. Some of the Tiger rugs have a basic pattern representing the stripes of a tiger, while others mimic actual tiger pelts including facial features. Tiger rug believed to protect the user when placed as a meditation rug, as tiger skin served as a sacred prayer rug.
Other popular Tibetan area rugs feature natural elements, such as flower motifs — especially lotus flowers, dragons, phoenix, clouds, and medallions. In addition to these representations, many Tibetan rug designs also feature geometrical patterns.
Traditional Tibetan rugs often have a limited color palate, using natural dyes made from red madder, blue indigo, yellow Tibetan rhubarb, and browns and grays found in Tibetan walnut. While the making of wool Tibetan rugs is suspected to have originated thousands of years ago, the practice was most popular near the turn of the 20th century. In the late 50s, there was a decline in the rug making, but it picked up again in the 70s.
Finding Handmade Tibetan Rugs
Tibetan style rugs are popular with a wide range of people, so there is a demand for both machine made and handmade rugs. The best quality Tibetan wool rugs are still handmade. The Safavieh Tibetan rug is known for its quality structure and attention to detail. Customers must pay close attention when they buy these rugs to be sure that they are buying handmade rugs. Most store bought rugs have an identification tag clearly stating if it is handmade or machine made.
A good handmade Tibetan rug can often be made to order, starting with hand spun Tibetan wool. They can feature very simple designs and natural dyes that can be mixed to resemble a pool of water to the more complex and detailed designs that require pre-planning on graphing paper.
Cleaning Handmade Tibetan Rugs
Handcrafting a Tibetan rug can take several months. Whether it is placed on the floor or hung on the wall, it needs to be taken care of properly. It is important that they be displayed in areas with plenty of air circulation where they are not exposed to too much humidity. Fading can be prevented by periodically rotating the rug so that the sun is not always shining on a single area of the rug.
If you do start to see signs of damage or wear, it is best to seek help from a professional rug cleaning and restoration service that is knowledgeable about fine rugs and uses safe and environmentally friendly methods to clean and restore carpets to look their best.
We have been cleaning and restoring Tibetan rugs for decades. As New York and New Jersey’s premier valuable rug cleaner, revitaRUGS is the only place you can trust to clean all types of rugs. Contact us for a free, no-obligation quote from one of our revita experts today!
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