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Tibetan Antique Area Rugs

Extremely Handmade by Tufenkian.

Tibet has always been a place that fascinated and fed the imagination of the world.  High up on the Tibetan plateau, guarded by the Himalayas, and nearly cut off from the world until the 20th century, its culture and religion evolved in unique and fascinating ways.  The cultural output of that society is extraordinarily esoteric, and stands apart from that produced by any other culture of the world.  That it is fast-disappearing makes it all the more precious.


Since Tibet was for centuries a Buddhist theocratic state, religion was central to life there.  Therefore it is not surprising that antique Tibetan carpets are deeply rooted in Tibetan culture and tradition and are physical manifestations of it. They are tangible representations of the artistry and the weaving skills that have been passed down through generations.


Antique Tibetan carpets are those which were woven before the Chinese Communists took over Tibet in the 1950’s and forced the Dalai Lama into exile in India.  All of them are made from Tibetan sheep’s wool which was hand-carded and hand spun, and the foundations of the carpets are typically also of wool, though occasionally cotton is used.  The Tibetan wool, naturally rich in lanolin and un-bleached and un-scoured, contains within it subtle variations of color which when paired with the uneven hand spinning of the yarn creates an array of subtle variations in each dyed color.  This is what gives them much of their charm and visual complexity.  They may be dyed exclusively from natural colors, or after the latter part of the 19th century, include some synthetic dyes. 


Because Buddhism is such an integral part of Tibetan life and culture, the weavers expressed these beliefs in the carpets they produced, which typically feature symbolic Buddhist motifs and religious themes.  Much of historic Tibetan carpet weaving was done to create colorful and comfortable carpets to sleep on, to warm the walls of homes in the cold Tibetan winters, and for decorative and ceremonial coverings for horses and Yaks.  Much of the rest of the production was created as donations to the many monasteries of Tibet, where the rugs were used for sitting during instruction and meditation. 


As a  result of the great exodus of Tibetans from their homeland in the 1960’s and in subsequent generations, many cultural relics of Tibet have found their way into the hands of collectors in the west who cherish the connection they bring to this remote, faraway and mysterious land.  Carpets are probably the most accessible such category, and are cherished by collectors who feel blessed to connect through them with the rich cultural heritage of Tibet which is so precious, but which has been under continually intensifying attack by the Chinese authorities since the time of Mao Tse Tung.  Many also feel motivated and satisfied to be contributing to the preservation of Tibetan culture through their acquisitions, and to have the opportunity to live together with them and to experience their gentle spiritual presence in their homes.

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Try out any rug available in our online store free in your home for seven days on a Tufenkian Test Drive. Outbound shipping is included!

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Value by Design

Made with the finest natural materials and craftmanship, destined to last a lifetime and become more beautiful with age, our modern designs are timeless to match our quality, not trendy and fleeting. This assures that they will be appreciated and valued for generations.

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