By: David Neishabori

Tibetan style rugs are a mainstay in the contemporary area rug market these days. Just twenty-five years ago things could not have been more different. Here’s the story of how Tibetan style rugs came to be.

In 1949 the Chinese invaded Tibet, and inadvertently changed the modern history of Oriental handwoven rugs.  Prior to the invasion, Tibetans made rugs for their own uses, which usually involved religious ceremonies. There was little commerce in new Tibetan rugs outside Tibet (though today the oldest rugs from Tibet are among the most desirable to collectors). The Chinese invasion forced thousands of Tibetans to flee from their homeland, and many who survived the journey out of the mountains took weaving skills with them to Nepal and India, where they established rug weaving industries to support themselves. In Nepal, no weaving industry had existed before the Tibetan refugees created one.

Today, Tibetan rugs (by which name all rugs made by Tibetans are known, whether woven in Nepal, Tibet, or India) are among the brightest stars in the contemporary rug weaving industry. 25 years ago, during the formative stages of the Tibetan rug industry most of the Tibetan rugs reaching the United States were made with luster-less, machine-spun Indian wool in bright synthetic dyes. Sizes and were limited and designs were uninteresting.

Behind the scenes in Nepal, a family of Tibetan rug dealers in Katmandu was quietly learning the moribund art of dyeing with natural plant dyes from a Buddha textbook.  In the late 1970’s, vegetable dyeing became more and more popular and rich saturated colors were achieved producing vibrant handwoven rugs.  For a while, this method was used by several Westerners in Nepal with exports to Germany and America.  German importers were extremely interested in Tibetan rugs but wool and supplies were limited.  Several key players were able to work with the World Bank and wool was finally allowed to flow freely into the market.  At the end of the 1980’s, the demand for Tibetan rugs was tremendous and weavers in Nepal began to prepare.  At this time, a rug producer from the United States went to Nepal with the philosophy that there was no reason Tibetan rug weaving should be limited to traditional Tibetan designs.  A Tibetan style rug could be woven into any design really, including the many contemporary designs we see now.

Tibetan rugs were once considered a risky specialty item.  Now, because of the several Western pioneers in the rug industry, Tibetan rugs are now readily available. In fact, in the last several years some Tibetan rug weavers in Nepal have become more and more innovative, incorporating silk and other fibers into the rugs thus creating a more luxurious and interesting look to the rugs.

View some of the fabulous Tibetan style rugs available at AZADI Fine Rugs below:

Stop by AZADI Fine Rugs to see our extensive collection of Tibetan area rugs. 

AZADIFine Rugs is a certified child-labor free rug gallery. You do good, globally, by your participation in the elimination of child labor in the rug industry.  With your business at AZADI, you are creating this special legacy.  Choose your rug dealer carefully, one that is a trusted and knowledgeable resource like AZADI Fine Rugs.  Many Interior Designers believe that a beautiful hand-woven rug can be the basis of their design plan. As we say at AZADI Fine Rugs, the rug is The Foundation for Fine Living.  For a complimentary in-home consultation, contact AZADI Fine Rugs at (480)483-4600.

For all of your favorite area rug and home design trends stop by AZADI Fine Rugs, best rug store in Scottsdale.  AZADI has a collection of over 10,000 fine area rugs. Whether you’re designing one space or an entire home, AZADI is experienced with taking care of your needs instantly. Our many types of rugs include; hand-woven rugs, contemporary area rugs, Tuscan design rugs, transitional design rugs, simple and clean design rugs, Oriental rugs, wool area rugs, vintage area rugs, Persian tribal rugs and Antique area rugs. Let our professionals help transform your space with exquisite rug design. At AZADI Fine Rugs we deliver the quality of these exquisite designs with impeccable Seven-Star Service.

To learn more about AZADI Fine Rugs in Scottsdale call (480) 483-4600 or contact us online at

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