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Click on the thumbnail, the bigger pics and description will follow. The stock number and measurements are used as titles. Expensive means over $1xxx, Mid-level over $6xx and Cheap less than $6xx.

Story: The Tibetan Rug Business and the Border

The love of Tibetan rugs is a niche market, but the dealers who come to Tibet realize Tibetan Rugs are special. The Tibetan rug is the one unique Tibet Art. It is easy to fall in love with the Tibetan Rug- it is a respect for the life of the unique Tibetan people, the unique Tibetan rug knot, the unique Tibetan Yak and Sheep wool, the unique Tibetan Buddhist Religion. All of these inspire the creation of the Tibetan Rug.

At the individual picture pages of the Tibetan Rug Gallery, Tibetan Textile Gallery and the Tibet Art Gallery, I discuss the meanings of Tibet Art symbolism and all antiques, textiles present.

The Tibetan rug buyers who come to Tibet try to keep their loads down so not to lose it to customs. It has happened. Stories of jealous Chinese Antique store owners calling customs at the airport or even the border- it has happened. There is a known limit of like 10 rugs. Sometimes a buyer will ask 3 or 4 people to carry things out. Everyone leaves Lhasa for Nepal to have the Tibetan rugs washed and shipped elsewhere. The Chinese border and Nepalese border are separated by 10kms of down the hill driving. I had bought so many Tibetan rugs, Tibetan blankets, Chinese and Tibetan Antiques and Bhutanese textiles, I couldn't take any other travelers to split the cost of the truck. I had a couple boys say no problem to hauling a few Tibetan rugs but then an American girl got all fizzy- what if he has drugs. Geez, but better not to start an argument with a self rightous girl so I choose to risk it myself. The driver was only able to see out the rear view window after we reorganized everything in the Snowlands parking lot at 7am. Many buyers will take off the backing and sheep wool padding from any piece because it really isn't necessary to have it on to sell but I like to keep things original. For example: one 2m. mat of nambu tigma with a backing is like an eighth the size if taken off. Keep to my principle we load the truck I pay him maybe $300 to drive me following the other trucks with tourist leaving. I pay him another $100 if, as the hotel staff interprets for me, he drive through the gate and instead of parking in front of customs which is the usual, he drive another 10m further. He agrees. At the border he starts to get all scared so I find a Nepalese driver who agrees with no issue. I loose all my tourist lead ins as we unload and reload all the Tibetan rugs. Off we go. Anxiety is pretty high. At customs the woman ask what I have I say my backpack in the truck. Oops, but she is cool, "get it." She starts to walk out with me, "where's your truck?" I look around, oh, he parked down there, I say. She is exasperated walk, yell or she just stamps me and I am good to go. To the Neapalese side, the Maoist were up in arms, the traffic was completely stopped in Nepal for 3 days. A couple of drivers were killed for driving. This is a "strike". The guards at the border were suspicious of so many rugs so they went through everything- a good hour to make sure there were no weapons. Where could I go, it didn't matter. The anxiety of the Chinese side turned to elation to have the Nepalese armed soldiers take piece by piece apart my buying trip.

 

 

 


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Copyright 2006 by M Petras