Tibetan Carpets

By: Song Shuhong, Tibet from all Angles
Updated: May 14, 2018

They are the most notable artware woven by Tibetans, with a unique weaving technique.


Tibetan carpets are characterized by a soft surface, exquisite workmanship, bright colorful and patterns, and distinct national style. Traditional Tibetan carpets are divided into three kinds, namely kardian cushions, carpets and tapestries. Tibetan carpets, Persian carpets and Turkish carpets are known as the “world’s three famous carpets”.


As early as the Yuan Dynasty, Tibet’s carpet industry was very developed. At that time, Gyangze, the most famous hometown of kardian cushions, witnessed the scene of “every family has a loom, and the sound of weaving can be heard everywhere”. In the Ming and Qing dynasties, production had reached a considerable scale. The government of Tibet set up carpet production workshops in Gyangze, and also dispatched officials to directly manage production and the guilds responsible for making kardian cushions. There are strict rules on the production, patterns and varieties of Tibetan carpets.


The kardian cushion is very popular among Tibetan people. With a size of single bed, it can be called a small carpet. It is woven with the wool of various colors, and is warm and moisture-proof. It makes comfortable bedding, and also a king of pleasing decoration. The kardian cushion of Gyangze not only has uniform wool and fine texture, and also has unique dye colors. Apart from red and black, all other dye colors are extracted from local leaves, roots and minerals. These homemade dyes are bright and long-lasting, reflecting a strong highland taste and unique national style.