We've all heard about Tibetan rugs, but are Tibetan rugs popular in our North American culture? The popularity of Tibetan rugs waxes and wanes from month to month. One minute there is interest in the North American market, the next there is none.
Tibetan rugs are a tribal tradition and their designs are pictorial and generally focus on the Buddhist element. There rugs will also include geometric patterns. Collectors can't seem to decide if these unique rugs are worth their investment dollars or not.
Older Tibetan rugs in good condition are hard to find. Most never left Tibet and thus the only ones available in the North American market are the more current rugs. Few rug dealers provide an opportunity to purchase beautiful old Tibetan rugs. More often than not the rugs that have found their way to the western world are the checkerboard rugs which are a variety of the tsuktruk weavings. They are generally a single color pile weave made from narrow strips that are sewn together. These rugs do not have designs.
The Wangen rugs come from a village called Wangden in the village of Tsang. Wangden was always one of the traditional weaving centers were the warped face rugs originated from.
Variations in color and structure have emerged but from where no one is certain. Most have been assigned the Bokhara name which is given to all Tekke Turkmen rugs but there is suspicion that these rugs actually originated from the Wangden area which has emerged as a modern weaving center.
Tiger rugs wear also quite trendy for a period which has now waned. The interesting thing about Tibetan rugs is that there popularity is not dictated by availably. The tiger rugs have many of the expected Tibetan characteristics and they are sold as meditation rugs or mats. The older ones where a solid color of brown, black, or deep blue, while the modern ones have developed a wider color palette.
Any mat that is made in the shape of a square is considered a mediation mat in Tibet. But realistically if that was the case every Tibetan would be committed to dharma and meditation and no one would be doing anything else.
The checkerboard rugs appear to be the most popular rug from Tibet. It's apparent that when it comes to Tibetan rugs an understanding of the pictographs is not appreciated in their rugs, unlike with other cultures. There appeal as a home decor piece is very understandable as they are distinct and unique but as a collectors rug it's hard to comprehend what drives the market.
The market for Tibetan rugs is more of a decor market and less of a collectors market and even still the Tibetan rugs seem to have a difficult time penetrating the market with any strength. When it comes to interest in Tibetan rugs it appears to be tied to an understanding of dharma and Buddhism.
You are probably well aware that the Tibetan culture is seldom discussed and few people understand Buddhism or the Tibetan people including those in the Pamir Mountains which are located in north Pakistan. Perhaps the lacks of understanding of the Tibetan people is the reason that the Tibetan rugs can't seem to grab a continuously comfortable market share.
The Tibetan rugs are unique, intriguing, and an excellent conversational piece. If you are looking for a rug you should certainly consider Tibetan rugs.
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