Tibetan Rugs: Ancient Problems, Innovative Solutions

Chris Buckley

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Tibetan rug making tradition is distinctively different from others in the Asian region, both in terms of knotting technique and design repertoire. In this talk Chris Buckley will explain the evolution of the Tibetan rug making tradition in terms of both its weavers and their clients, who included ordinary Tibetans, monasteries and wealthy aristocratic households. Chris will explain unique Tibetan knotting methods, which include some tricks that anticipate contemporary image compression techniques that are used to enhance image sharpness. The Tibetan knotting technique is also highly efficient, which is why it is now used in India, China and Nepal to manufacture contemporary “Tibetan” rugs. Tibet has sometimes been viewed as an isolated region, but “traditional” rugs from Tibet tell a different story, showing design inspiration that includes Chinese and European sources, as well as ancient indigenous motifs. The talk will be illustrated with Chris’s photographs of old rugs and contemporary weaving and dyeing in Tibet.

Chris Buckley was educated at Oxford, where he did his undergraduate degree and PhD in chemistry. He worked as a product designer for the Procter and Gamble company for some years, before running a carpet weaving workshop in Lhasa from 2003 to 2010. He is the author of “Tibetan Furniture” (Thames and Hudson) and “Roots of Asian Weaving” (Oxbow Books). He is now a full-time researcher in traditional textiles and weaving technology, based in the United Kingdom.


Chris Buckley’s recent work on carpets includes:

Tibetan Rugs: Ancient Problems, Innovative Solutions —Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Tibetan Furniture (Thames and Hudson)

Roots of Asian Weaving (Oxbow Books).