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Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Great Tibetan Carpet Disaster

The great Tibetan carpet disaster.
In the 80's there was so much demand for Tibetan carpets, every Tibetan who could afford it started a tiny carpet factory. In my just before life, I also invested in a start up carpet business. I sent two monks to Nepal to start carpet business, but it never made any money because it had already peaked. You would think I would have checked better, but that was the "gold rush fever" of that time... hee hee. Eventually, there were so many making carpet, good weavers were not available and many used younger workers to meet the demand. It is not uncommon anywhere in the Orient for children to work to help the family, but when the world export market knew this, the carpet business crashed. Purchasing a license as an adult only carpet making was prohibitively expensive and so many lost both investment and livelihood. Many small enterprises that invited relatives from Tibet to come make carpet and live in safety, could no longer do that. Also, mothers would bring their children to work with them as there was no one else to watch them. Under the new rules, they could not be in the area (I think)
When New Zeland wool (softer) became the standard, the rough Tibetan wool was used little or not at all. The carpets were not the same. The above photo of a Tibetan carpet is dragon and phoenix, rarely used in Tibet, a Chinese design, done in Tibetan style, but made by Nepalis. Designs now a days get mixed according to what will sell and not by tradition. Most Tibetan carpets nowadays are made by Nepalis, not Tibetans. Many Tibetans now feel sorry that carpet making became so profitable that they felt forced to bring in non-Tibetan workers and train them. Those workers later began making Tibetan carpets on their own. It is rare to have Tibetans involved at all, except selling them .... strange isn't it? ~Domo Geshe Rinpoche ~~~

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