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The History of Tibetan Rug Weaving in Nepal

The historical origins of Tibetan rugs are unclear. It is believed that the art of rug weaving in this Himalayan region is part of an age-old tradition practiced primarily for use in the home. Originally rugs were produced for mats, door covers, bed covers and pillar rugs, which were placed around columns in Buddhist monasteries. Traditional Tibetan weavings generally reflect the influence of the Buddhist religion in Tibetan culture and art.

Rug weaving has also been one of the age-old traditional activities of the villages in the northern mountainous region of Nepal. But then commercial manufacturing began in Nepal along with the exodus of Tibetan refugees in Nepal in the early 1960's. Though the Nepalese as well as Sherpas were weaving rugs for generations, Europeans took interest in rugs mainly to help Tibetan refugees settling in Nepal. In 1964 the first commercial shipment of woolen rugs (carpets) was made. The rug industry is now a major sector in creating job opportunities for both Tibetan refugees and Nepalese and for earning foreign currency as well.

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