Rimo’s Nepalese Hand knotted rugs, are made using a Tibetan knot
The rugs are produced in Kathmandu, Nepal.
This is a brief history of rugs being made using a Tibetan knot.
The carpet-making industry in Tibet stretches back hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
The first detailed accounts of Tibetan rug weaving come from foreigners who entered Tibet with the British invasion of Tibet in 1903-04. Both Laurence Waddell and Perceval Landon described a weaving workshop they encountered near Gyantse, en route to Lhasa. Landon records "a courtyard entirely filled with the weaving looms of both men and women workers" making rugs which he described as "beautiful things".
The workshop was owned and run by one of the local aristocratic families, which was the norm in premodern Tibet. Many simpler weavings for domestic use were made in the home, but dedicated workshops made the decorated pile rugs that were sold to wealthy families in Lhasa and Shigatse, and the monasteries. The monastic institutions housed thousands of monks, who sat on long, low platforms during religious ceremonies, that were nearly always covered in hand-woven carpets for comfort.
From its heyday in the 19th and early 20th century, the Tibetan carpet industry fell into serious decline in the second half of the 20th. Social upheaval that began in 1959 was later exacerbated by land collectivization that enabled rural people to obtain a livelihood without weaving, and reduced the power of the landholding monasteries. Many of the aristocratic families who formerly organized the weaving fled to India and Nepal during this period, along with their money and management expertise.
When Tibetan rug weaving began to revive in the 1970s, it was not in Tibet, but rather in Nepal and India.
Rimo started producing hand knotted rugs in Nepal in 1998, all our rugs are certified as part of the Goodweave program. When your rug carries the GoodWeave label, then you have the peace of mind knowing that the rug has been hand knotted by adult skilled artisans, who have been paid a fair wage.
The basic process
Tibetan sheep wool comes in the form of raw wool. Pure white wool and other impurities are separated to get the best white wool which is hand washed in spring water.
Carding is the process of combing and cleaning the wool. The wool is the basic raw material for rug making, it should be fine and clean. In an effective carding no fiber is intermingled with another and all foreign particles and dirt are removed.
After carding, the wool fibers are drawn and twisted to make yarns of desired thickness. This process is called spinning. A twist of 5-7 ply per inch is said to be ideal for rugs. Hand spinning is a traditional skill of the Nepalese people which produces the best yarn for rugs, enhancing its elasticity and strength.
The wool can be dyed either using natural vegetable dyes or synthetic ones. Using natural dyes is more complicated and the colours obtained are not as vibrant, but it enhances the natural texture within the rug, giving a more organic appearance. Synthetic dyes produce brighter, cleaner colours, which are not possible using a natural dye.
Weaving is carried out by hand using the traditional Tibetan knotting style on a vertical loom. We use simple tools such as, scissors, iron-rod, levers, comb beater, etc. The number of weavers is determined by the width of the rug.
Typical knot density of a Rimo Nepalese-Tibetan rug ranges from 60 to 100 knots per square inch. However, we can produce up to 200 knots per square inch.
Rimo use many types of fibre, Tibetan hand spun Wool, New Zealand Wool, Pashmina Wool, Viscose, Banana Silk and Chinese Silk.
The sharp design & pattern is carved out by scissors cutting, very finely into the woven rugs. It is a very delicate process because one false cut can ruin the whole rug.
After a rug is trimmed it is then washed with fresh water, removing dirt and restoring the original shine of the wool. The rug is then dried out in the sun for 4-5 days.
After washing and drying, the rugs are stretched from all four sides using metal frames and hooks, maintaining the intended shape of the rug.
The rug is trimmed again to give it a final finish. After vacuum cleaning, it is packed, ready for shipment by air to our clients.