VIDEO: Hand Weaving Tibetan Carpets, Nepal

VIDEO: The Making of Tibetan Carpets

At the Tashiling Tibetan Refugee Settlement in Pokhara, Nepal, women card and spin wool, which is then dyed in rainbow colors and painstakingly woven into intricate carpet designs on huge wooden looms. The carpet being woven in the video is approximately eight feet long and will take about two months to complete, after which it will be sold for 3,000 Nepali Rupees, or about $43 U.S. dollars.

24 Comments on “VIDEO: The Making of Tibetan Carpets

  1. Hello,my name is ahmad afraz, we are two brothers,living in iran and weaving Persian authentic high quality hand-woven (Tabriz) silk carpet with twenty years background. Our art is uniqe entire the world and in our carpets there are 1000 nodes per 1 meter and with more than 80 different colours with kind of size like 3*4 meters and 3/5*5and4*6. with the best iranian design and woving. Include (salar and garabaghy and gasr and kohan and qoum ) and we can teach our art to persons who intrest in our professional and we are looking for employer or sponsor who interested in our uniqe art and migrate us to unitted states and we present our abilities..thanks and best regards from iran.

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  6. Very interesting Barbara. Having been extensively involved with both Government and NGOs in Australia and the UK for some time, I appreciate your disappointment and your reservations.

    Sadly, the other side of a story such is that many NGO’s are providing material support (with funds provided by Government) to a percentage of people in western countries who are basically misappropriating what is offered, by taking the materials and selling the goods on; rather than keeping those goods for their children as intended … and I leave it to your imagination regarding what they spend the money on.

    Again, sadly, the ones who miss out are their children!

    • Hi Earth Gipsy: Thanks for your comment. There are so many different sides to this story.It took me a month to write the piece that I published and still I’ve left out so much. You are so correct to point out that many NGO’s have good intentions and the corruption occurs in the beneficiary country. So sad, but until the government gets its act together, I don’t know that much can be done about it – and that’s precisely the reason I abandoned the idea of doing an NGO. However, I do have some other ideas that might work even better; we shall see what happens as I pursue them when I return in April.

  7. Here is Similar Story

    Tashling handicraft center was set up in 1969 under the initiation of representative of central Tibetan refugee administration Dharamsala, India and Nepal Red Cross Society. Its main objective is to help the Tibetan refeguee by providing them job opportunities and support themselves. Our other very important aim is to restore and promote our age-old rare traditional fine art of carpet weaving and designs.

  8. The $43 figure is depressing, even in a low-cash society where many people still produce much of their own food. Thank you for being honest and sharing that. Really brings home how unequal our world is.

  9. I have a profound respect for people who are capable of creating such marvelous pieces (when I was in Egypt I saw children in a weaving school)…I can honestly say that I would be able to sit down and watch them work all day.

    • Hi Josef: What astounded me was the time it took just to weave a single row,
      and the patience of the weavers. And then there was the ridiculously low
      prices for these exquisite works of art. The woman at the loom that I filmed
      asked me if I wanted to try, but thankfully, I know my limitations and
      declined 🙂

  10. The dexterity in tying the knots is striking and the final carpets are simply stunning. I have visited a couple of carpet places in different countries (north African countries, Nepal, India) and sadly seen child workers in every case. I am pleased that this isn’t the case here but it is a serious issue in many similar factories. While supporting them by purchases endorses the practice in my view (so I don’t), not making a purchase leads to unemployment and potentially the funds to feed a family.

    • Hi Mark: I have been contemplating this issue of child labor and am really
      torn. Your comment: “While supporting them by purchases endorses the
      practice in my view (so I don’t), not making a purchase leads to
      unemployment and potentially the funds to feed a family.” was so insightful.
      By refusing to buy carpets made with child labor we hope factories will stop
      employing children. We are looking at this issue through the filter of
      developed nations, where it is socially unacceptable for children to work
      (how quickly we have forgotten that it wasn’t so long ago that child labor
      was common in the US!). In third world countries, this is not a social
      issue, but a survival issue. Though I would prefer to see a situation where
      all children do not work and go to school, the reality of the situation is
      that without the children working, the family might well starve. In the end,
      I guess the decision whether to buy or not must rest with each individual.

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  12. Hi Barbara,
    These carpets are very nice and I actually bought one. For about Rs. 3,000 which I think is a fair price. The work is quite labour intensive and detailed but lets understand that the artists are working on several products simultaneously; not just making 6 carpets a year. 🙂
    Priyank

    • Priyank, that was not the case on the day I toured the factory. Business is
      down because of charges that children are being used in the manufacture of
      carpets. I understand this may be true in the Nepali factory, but it is not
      true in the Tibetan factories I visited. However, the factory was filled
      with empty looms. Only four looms were set up and working, and there were
      four women. They each had only one carpet underway.

      • Oh boy, I’m sad to hear that. Hope things improve, the times were good when I shopped (although not at this particular location.)

  13. 2 months and $43…wow…I guess in text link terms I’m pretty rich.
    It’s amazing how hard they work for so little.

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