Tibetan Rugs Bring Many Facets to Home Decor

The Himalayan country of Tibet remains a mystery to many around the world. The holy land of Buddhist tradition, this mountainous nation is known for its unique arts and crafts including an accessory that will bring great imagination and harmony to any home – Tibetan rugs.

The designs of Tibetan rugs are as varied as the facets of the universe. While technically “oriental” rugs, these floor coverings differ greatly from the intricate, jewel-toned patterns of Persian, Turkish or Chinese rugs also called orientals. Rugs from Tibet and its neighbor Nepal share an unusual, highly refined technique of hand-knotting. The craftsmanship of this method, combined with their distinctive colors and designs, combine to make these rugs truly unique among floor coverings.

A deep sense of spiritual purpose lies behind genuine Tibetan rugs, as with rugs crafted by Navajo artisans and other cultures for which making beauty is essential to their beliefs. One of the reasons these rugs are so luxurious to see and touch is the painstaking care with which the makers create with the system of Tibetan knots. The makers use natural silk fibers and the softest refined wool. Cotton, canvas, or wool fabric are used to create the rug backing, and then the knots are pulled through and snipped. This technique results in rugs with textures of varying pile lengths, chosen by the artist.

Tibetan rug makers aren’t the only artisans that use hand-knotting to create their rugs. However, this culture’s particular refinement of the technique sets it apart from others because of the motifs and patterns that result. The artists that create these unusual rugs draw inspiration from many Asian cultures, incorporating into their designs plant motifs that have deeply significant symbolism. For example, patterns representing renewal and long life are commonly seen in bamboo rugs. In addition, designs feature plum blossoms and forsythia branches as symbols of beauty, grace and the passage of time.

These sophisticated approaches make Tibetan rugs seem contemporary, but in reality the makers are drawing upon ancient symbols and methods. Rug designs often are intended to elicit a certain mood, from serenity to excitement. Sometimes geometric shapes are woven into the rug so that intriguing patterns within patterns result, similar to the effect of infinity created by hanging two mirrors opposite one another.

At other times, Tibetan rugs are woven in such an understated way that it can be hard to discern a pattern. Many rugs of this type are meant for meditation purposes, so that observers can literally get lost in the rug’s weave and thus allow the cares of the workaday work to drift away. Nonetheless, this type of rug also can work well in Modern or Contemporary decor where minimalism is a valued quality, or to simplify a room style that has become too busy or cluttered.

One of the most prized characteristics of this style of rugs – and one that makes them ideal for any decor – is the skillful combination of wool and silk in the same weave. The result of this sophisticated method is a rug with a luminescent sheen that catches and reflects light in ever-changing waves.

Tibetan rugs have come into their own recently as both exquisite accessories for many decor styles and as highly collectible ornaments. Some dealers think that Tibetan rugs with their timeless beauty may soon catch up with classic Persian rugs as valued heirlooms worthy of being handed on to successive generations.