A brief history of the Nepalese luxury carpetJan 05.2021
The region between Nepal and Tibet has witnessed the birth of an esteemed tradition of carpet making. For centuries, the nomadic tribes living in the area have guarded and passed on this knowledge. For these populations, carpets represent a real point of reference for the life of their community.
High-quality luxury wool carpets
The nomadic people of the Nepalese region have always used nature’s resources to make their carpets. Above all, sheep’s wool. The wool of the sheep that lives in this geographical area is particularly soft and warm. This is also because it has a high quantity of lanolin. For this reason, Nepalese carpets are among the warmest and softest in the world.
Unlike in other regions of Asia, carpet design in Tibet and Nepal has remained extremely simple. The designs are abstract and inconspicuous. The patterns are not very elaborate and coexist alongside carpets made in intense colours. The rich decorations typical of Persian carpets here give way to geometric patterns and monochrome carpets, which are surprising in their simplicity.
The fabric of a typical luxury Nepalese carpet is soft and shiny, both in the case of carpets made entirely of wool and even more so in carpets made with silk inserts. The design of these carpets is quite free: there are no regularly repeated patterns, as in the case of Turkmen carpets, nor religious symbols to draw inspiration from.
The muse for the nomadic peoples of Tibet and the refugees from Nepal was above all nature, with its infinite shades of colour. These nuances are reproduced in luxury carpets through the use of wool yarns of different shades.
However, there are also more elaborate models with decorations that recall those common in Chinese tradition. Dragons, claws and pearls are among the most frequently found elements. A characteristic decorative element of Tibetan and Nepalese carpets are fire pearls. What are they? The design represents pearls that are surrounded by flames and suspended in the middle of the scene. In contrast, in carpets with a floral design, lotus flowers and peonies are usually the most represented elements.
A carpet from Tibet or Nepal is recognisable not only by its design, but also and above all by its manufacturing technique. The carpet is made entirely by hand, using wool for the weft, warp and knotting. The knotting technique distinguishes Tibetan carpets from all others, thanks to a special knot that is used to weave the wool threads. The wool yarns have remarkable elastic qualities and allow the rugs to be knotted tightly and resistant.
From Tibetan temples to modern luxury homes
In addition to their design, luxury Tibetan carpets are distinguished from other traditional Asian carpets by their small size. In fact, typical Nepalese carpets are generally small in size. The reason for this? In ancient times, these carpets were intended for individual use and temple decoration. There was therefore no need to manufacture large pieces.
In prayer carpets, the design also had a practical function. The decoration of the carpet was not an end in itself, but limited the space for sitting. The spiritual dimension of Tibetan society thus also influenced the more profane dimension of furniture.
Over time, carpets originally designed for prayer and meditation have moved out of places of worship or domestic settings dedicated to prayer. In other words, they have become a decorative element that has spread to all areas of Nepalese homes.
Today, when talking about luxury Nepalese carpets, a distinction is usually made between Khaden carpets, which are used for meditation, and carpets used to enrich altars and to cover temple columns. There are also ancient carpets that were specially woven to be used as saddles for animals. And there were also carpets reserved for the use of the highest spiritual figures in society. Particularly fine carpets were created for these prominent figures, embellished with coveted and elaborate reproductions of tigers. The tiger is an animal that symbolises spiritual strength.
Thanks to their small size and simple yet impressive designs, luxury carpets from Nepal can find a place in modern homes in a wide variety of styles. These carpets are an excellent option to consider if you wish to have a high-quality carpet in your home that testifies to the uniqueness and good taste of the hosts.
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