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What are Tibetan Rugs and How are They Different from Persian Rugs?

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colors-and-motifs-Tibetan-rugs
Examples of traditional colors and motifs of Tibetan rugs.

Tibetan rugs are a favorite choice of interior designers and are very different from a traditional Persian hand knotted rug. Often collectors or designers who love Tibetan rugs, adore them because they are hand knotted from the wool of sheep that graze in the highlands of Tibet.

Tibetan natural wool is rich in lanolin and once woven can be one of the softest textures ever your feet can encounter.

What are Tibetan Rugs and How are They Different?

When comparing a Tibetan area rug with a hand knotted wool Persian rug, a few differences will become glaringly apparent. For one, Tibetan rugs are tied with a different knot than Persian hand knotted rugs.

Because they are knotted different they do not possess the traditional designs of Persian rugs and instead have a more modern and plainer design motif. The knots in Tibetan rugs are actually faster to tie, and so a Tibetan rug will also appear thinner than a traditional wool Persian rug.

Traditional Chobi Ziegler Oriental Persian rug
Photo Credit - Traditional Chobi Ziegler Oriental Persian rug from RugKnots.com

The second biggest difference between a Persian rug and a Tibetan rug are the natural materials used to make their dyes. The most popular colors in Tibetan rugs will be yellows and grays. Persian rugs often feature bolder color shades of reds, blues, golds, black and all variations of the brown families of hues.

A true Tibetan rug is very expensive. When we say a “true” Tibetan rug we are referring to a rug that was actually hand knotted in Tibet. When you think about the country of Tibet and how very small it is, you can understand that the number of Tibetan rugs that are being hand knotted and sold today are small in number.

However, the popularity of these rugs is great, so rug weavers in both India and Nepal are copying the Tibetan rug designs and their colors and selling them on the market as a true Tibetan rug, even though the rug is not at all from the area of Tibet.

Be Sure it's the Real Deal!

When considering the purchase of a Tibetan rug, be sure that you are really purchasing a rug from Tibet. Ask the country of origin. Turn the rug over and make sure the rug is actually hand knotted and not hand tufted. Hand tufted knots are made by machine so their lines are straight and standard and easy to detect.

Hand tufted rugs are not knotted, but instead stitched. They will not last as long as a hand knotted carpet, and they do not have the lasting value of a hand knotted carpet. Hand knotted rugs are done by hand so their rows of knots will vary in size as will the straightness of their lines.

Featured image by Vermont Tibetan Rugs.

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